The proposed fiscal year 2020-2021 budget for Collegedale is very conservative and viewed as appropriate for the uncertain times that are now being experienced, City Manager Ted Rogers said Monday night. In his summary of the budget, he cites tornado damage to some city-owned properties on top of economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said in this environment, it is almost impossible to forecast anticipated revenue, but he said the city is fortunate to be in excellent fiscal condition to make it through.
This new budget plans for what is expected to be tough times ahead with lowered revenues.
The property tax rate has been set at $1.65 per every $100 of property value. All general government capital projects have been eliminated, there are no new vehicle purchases planned, no new taxes, no raises for employees or expansions of programs. A goal is for the city to try and avoid furloughs and layoffs during the upcoming year, the city manager’s plan states. Mayor Katie Lamb said that Collegedale should not plan on receiving anything from the state this year.
An amendment was made to the 2019-2020 budget to account for expenses and revenues that were not anticipated when the budget was created.
At the request of Planning and Economic Development Director Kelly Martin and City Attorney Sam Elliott, the commissioners extended a moratorium on outdoor commercial signs that includes applications, permitting, construction, installations and conversions of existing signs. A new law prohibits evaluating signs based on content. Place, time, and manner can be considered. The moratorium will continue until there is a way that commercial signs can be regulated. Mr. Martin said he is aiming for having this ready for the commissioners in June or July.
The best and lowest bids were accepted for making repairs to tornado-damaged municipal structures. The commission approved spending $53,925 for repairs to The Commons and the lowest bid to repair the boardwalk for $61,050. The city will be reimbursed for these repairs by insurance.
Utility acquisitions were approved for four easements that are needed for construction of the city’s force main. The approved prices for the four properties total $8,200.
The Forth of July freedom celebration has been postponed out of an abundance of caution due to the coronavirus threat. One fear was that since the other surrounding cities have cancelled their fireworks shows for the Fourth of July, people could all end up coming to Collegedale’s celebration said the mayor. She said that she joins the city manager in a recommendation to close it and the commissioners agreed. The show has been postponed until 2021. Councilman Phil Garver then made the suggestion for the city to have a late fall festival if things change.
Debris left by the storms on Easter night are still being picked up by the public works department. Public Works Director Eric Sines said that storm brush is being picked up first. Construction debris, which the city generally does not collect, will be picked up because it is the result of storm damage. It will be collected on “bulk pick-up days,” beginning Wednesday.
At the next commission meeting a discussion will be held for determining to what extent the city will care for a retired police dog. Once they are retired, they are given to and live with their handler. The city builds a kennel for the dog and provides food and veterinary care. Vice Mayor Tim Johnson would like to put limits on this benefit. City Manager Rogers suggested the possibility of capping the amount that the city pays. The next commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 15.