BUDGET PUBLIC HEARINGS
The Crime Board budget was first to be discussed. The Crime Board had already approved the budget but before it went before Council citizens were given an opportunity to speak on it. With no one present wishing to speak, the public hearing was closed.
The council next moved to the Economic Development Corporation budget. This budget was already approved by the EDC. The public hearing was opened, but with no one wishing to speak the public hearing was closed.
The next budget that was discussed was the overall City budget. A public hearing was opened, and one citizen spoke. They questioned the need for the tax increase that was a part of the budget, saying home values are going up and so the City is getting more money anyways.
ACTION ON BUDGETS
A motion was made to approve the Crime Board budget. That motion passed unanimously. Next, the council considered action on the EDC budget. A motion was made to approve the budget. That motion passed unanimously. Lastly, a motion was made to approve the overall City budgets for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. That motion passed unanimously.
TAX RATE ADOPTED
The budget was calculated using the new tax rate, but for it to be officially set would take council action. The proposed tax rate was .7556 per $100, a slightly more than 2 cent increase from the previous year’s tax rate of .7331 per $100.
A motion was made to ratify the property tax increase reflected in the budget. Before a vote was taken, Council member Elzie Clements spoke, saying that while he knows tax increases aren’t always welcome, if we want to see additions to the City, progress, and infrastructure upgrades, it takes money. “We have to do things that hurt sometimes,” Clements said.
Mayor White reflected on a previous council that voted to reduce the taxes by “quite a bit”, saying that the City has been playing “catch-up” with the tax rate ever since.
The motion to ratify the tax rate increase passed unanimously. A motion was made to approve an ordinance to affix and levy the ad valorem taxes. That also passed unanimously.
REZONING HEARINGS AND ACTION
The council considered the changing of zoning to single family residential for two properties in the City. Economic Development Director Kyle Reeves stated this will more closely fit the purposes for lots of these sizes. The developer is looking to build 43 homes in the area.
A public hearing was held, but with no one wishing to speak it was closed.
Mayor Ronald A. White mentioned that some of these homes would be located along White Settlement Road, making them some of the only homes on that section of the road. Reeves stated that this was just a request for rezoning, and that if that passes they would still make certain that whatever the developer builds meets White Settlement standards.
These two rezoning requests were passed unanimously in two separate motions by the Council.
A different property was discussed for a potential rezoning to Commercial Corridor next. This property was struck off to the City for tax reasons, meaning they aren’t the owners, but are the caretakers of it for all the entities that are owed taxes on it. This property is on Cambridge Circle and sits next to commercial corridor zoned areas.
A public hearing was opened regarding this property and one citizen spoke. They stated that there have been code violations and issues on properties surrounding this one. With no one else wishing to speak, the public hearing was closed.
This rezoning request was passed unanimously.
Council postponed an agenda item to consider establishing the White Settlement Museum as a department of the City.
After an executive session to seek advice from the City Attorney, a motion was made to direct staff to move forward as directed during the executive session. That motion passed unanimously.