Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Baldwin City Council Supports Creating a Neighborhood Revitalization Area and a Proposed Half-Cent Sales Tax

After the ceremony to push the new fire truck into service, the members of the city council, walked across the street to begin their August 1, 2016 meeting.  Mayor Marilyn Pearse called the meeting to order at 7 P.M.
 The council discussed at length their support of Resolution 2016-13, Council Member David Simmons  said that he supports the idea of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NPR).  However, there are some numbers in the NPR that he does not and cannot support. That being a 95% abatement for 15-years.  He suggested that perhaps if the numbers were graduating, where the abatement became less each year, he would be more comfortable with that,  
 Council Member Christi Darnell told the council that to her it is the best way to develop this neighborhood and property. It is not that much tax loss, when compared to the huge cost the city would have faced had it been demolished as was once being discussed, had it not been sold.
Council Member Tony Brown mentioned that he seen three issues, the historic nature of the building and wanting to see it preserved. Second is the financing as Simmons mentioned are valued concerns.  It is a big tax abatement. Third is one one timing, needing to figure  things out with a little bit of urgency.
Council Member Cathy Gerstner said she agreed with the plan. However, she felt that if their was more time, perhaps they could have negotiated more.  In the realm of all the facts and figures, $6,000 isn't that much.  Finally, Council Member Steve Bauer said he was in favor of the project. The more time that goes by, the more it will cost to renovate. Reiterating he supports the project and the NPR.
Bauer then moved the Resolution of Support be adopted and Darnell seconded.  The motion passed 4-1 with Simmons casting the dissenting vote.
Also on the agenda was Ordinance 1347. The ordinance would place before the voters a proposal to increase the cities sales tax for the recreation center. Community resident Gene Vaughn, Baldwin City, spoke to the council in support of the new recreation center.
Darnell and Simmons both expressed concerns that the ordinance doesn't have a sunset provision. Glenn Rodden, City Administrator, mentioned the way that it reads is how the Attorney General requires it to read to get it on the ballot. Steve Friend, Baldwin City Recreation Director, said the idea of the tax was to pay off the debt and didn't include maintenance to maintain the building,  The measure passed 4-1 with Brown casting the dissenting vote vote. The council will have a joint meeting with the Baldwin School Board on Tuesday August 9, 2016 at 6:30 P.M. at the Performing Arts Center.
  • Unanimously approved the 2017 city budget (Resolution 2016-14 and Ordinance 1345), as well as the publication of the Notice of Vote.
  • Unanimously approved Ordinance 1341 amending chapter eleven of the Public Offenses Possession of Marijuana or THC.  Meaning all Class A and B offenses would be tried in municipal court rather then district court. Only those considered a felony (Class C) would go to the district court. 
  • Approved the job descriptions for the various city positions.
  • Tabled and sent ordinance 1346 back to committee regarding an increase in the Franchise Fees and how they will be dolled out. 
  • Unanimously approved Ordinance 1348  - Power Cost Adjustment
  • Heard from Brad Smith, City Finance Director, who gave the monthly overview of the budget and spending.

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