By Pam Robinson
The potentially controversial public hearing on the 2013 city budget wrapped up in eight minutes with only one resident, Nancy Sexton, addressing the common council at their meeting Thursday night. The four council members present voted to pass the budget on second reading. Republican council member Andy Hoehn was absent from the meeting.
In answering Sexton’s questions regarding the 2013 budget, Clerk-Treasurer Cristi Sitzman emphasized that the 2013 budget is less than the previous year’s budget and there were no raises. Sitzman then explained that the rate is 22.5 percent higher than last year’s certified rate, but that is a result of certified assessed valuations, which would change. She went on to state that the actual levy is 3.79 percent higher than last year. She added that last year the city advertised to raise $3.2 million in taxes whereas the city advertised for $3.3 million in taxes for 2013.
Right before the public hearing and vote on the 2013 budget, council passed on final reading the salary ordinance for the year ending December 31, 2013. The ordinance is now number 12-17.
With the 2013 budget set aside, council then passed on first reading an ordinance to vacate the south half of the north/south alley between Main and Water for the Landing Project. City Attorney Beth McFadin Higgins made note of the filed petition and certified mailings. A public hearing will be held on October 4 regarding the ordinance to vacate the portion of the alley designated.
Petitioners Andy Myzak and Tim Martin then addressed council. Myzak stated that The Landing will now front Water Street and be built on top of the alley addressed in the ordinance. He then stated that after approval of the ordinance, they will have closing and construction will start the end of October or the first of November.
Mayor John Tucker explained that the rendering has changed to face more the Water Street side, and investors are also in the process of acquiring the Cox Winiger property. Tim Martin added that this will allow for a significant increase in parking. The code requires 50 spaces, and there will be 81 spaces when completed.
In responding to questions from City Attorney Beth McFadin Higgins, Myzak reported that the Board of Zoning Appeals had approved the special use for the project. He emphasized the completion date for the project must be no later than December 31, 2013.
In other business:
•Council passed on first reading an ordinance updating, restating and recodifying chapter 91 of animal control. It was noted that this entirely new animal control chapter limited the total number of dogs and cats in a home to eight – four each. It was further stated that there is no increase in fees or fines.
•Council passed the resolution directing payments in lieu of annexation be deposited into the city’s general fund. The resolution is now numbered 12-18. These payments currently go into the rainy day fund and come from GAF and Countrymark. The income for 2013 was stated as $79,096.
•Council passed on first reading the ordinance authorizing a blanket bond of criminal insurance policy. Attorney Higgins explained that a new law went into effect authorizing this blanket bonding—which should save the city money since individual bonds will not be purchased now.
•Council approved the submission and filing of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, or IURC, petition on behalf of the sewage utility.
•Matt Walls of Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates reported on the unexpected 10 year storm event at the West Storm Water Project.
•Mike Burris with Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates invited council to tour the updates to the wastewater plant. He advised that the scheduled completion date is December 17, 2012.
•Tucker reported he is putting back together the Mount Vernon Economic Development Board with Councilman Andy Hoehn and Councilwoman Sue Shelton as members along with Larry Williams, Mike Ashworth, Judy Winiger and Brian Jeffries. The board is required to meet once a year, but he hopes members will get together more often. Tucker added he will be going after annexation and TIF.
•When meeting as the Water Utility Board, council members authorized Tucker to sign the petition and allow Umbaugh to file it regarding forgoing the process of filing rate decisions with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, or IURC.
Mount Vernon City Council meets again Thursday, October 4, at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Annex.
By Pam Robinson
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