|BG moves ahead on fire levy|
|Written by By HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor|
|Tuesday, 02 June 2009 13:57|
Legislation that would ask Bowling Green voters for a tax increase was given a first reading Monday night by city council.
Council also discussed at length how it might present the issue and set a committee meeting for next Monday at 6 p.m. to study more budget information.
Later council heard its first public reaction to a tax increase proposal - don't do it.
Jackie Nowicki of Hickory Court said she was concerned about the talk of a tax increase. "I think it would be unreasonable. There must be other things that can be cut, things that the city can do without. I can't imagine council asking," she said.
At-Large Member Bob McOmber led the council discussion, saying he wanted to make sure council will actively support any tax proposal, wants to make sure all of the facts about the budget and the proposal are clear, and make sure the amount is correct to reflect the actual use.
The legislation calls for a 0.20 percent increase in the city income tax for fire and ambulance operations.
McOmber said he places a high value on all of the city services but council needs to realize that not everyone feels the same way. "It's easy to value the city services but I have a feeling we're too close to it."
At-Large Member Larry Sorrells said, "This had better be crystal clear. We need to think at the next two meetings - if we need to clean up the language."
At-Large Member Terry Dunn said he has asked the administration for a list of items now covered in the budget that did not exist when the 1.5 percent tax became effective in the early 1970s.
He specifically mentioned recycling and information technology (computerization) that did not exist at that time. "What do we do today with that 1.5 percent? We need to define those services. If we do not have the money, we may do without programs. That's a way of approaching this."
¥ Heard from a resident of North Wintergarden Road who was unhappy about the city ordinance limiting how long a recreational vehicle can be parked in a driveway. He maintained that if the ordinance exists for aesthetic reasons it is unconstitutional. He was referred to the city attorney.
¥ Learned that two long-time city employees, Ron Hafner and Chris Jackson, who retired Friday, will not be replaced because of budget issues. Hafner has worked in the engineering department since 1982 and Jackson has worked in the information technology department since 1989. City employee Dave McDonald has been named acting IT director, Mayor John Quinn said.
¥ Heard that a meeting to outline uses of the city's Community Development Block Grant will be held Thursday at 4 p.m. in the City Administrative Services Building, 304 N. Church St.
¥ Briefly discussed problems with lawns not being mowed.
¥ Learned bids for the ultraviolet disinfection improvements at the wastewater treatment plant came in at $1,047,000. The estimate had been $1.7 to $1.9 million. The city has a $400,000 State Issue I grant to help pay for the project. "This is much less of a cost than we had anticipated," said Director of Utilities Kevin Maynard.
¥ Heard the Conneaut Avenue sewer project is nearing completion. Director of Public Works Brian Craft said concrete and asphalt work will be dependent on good weather. He said the sewer line was tested and approved last week.
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