Council balks at mill hike
The Baldwin mill levy for 2003 won't be any higher than it was for 2002.
At Monday's meeting, the Baldwin City Council, in a 4-1 vote, with Council Member Marilyn Pearse voting against, set the maximum mill levy for the fiscal year 2003 at 41.655 mills, even though the finance committee recommended a 42.880 mill levy.
Council Member Todd Cohen said he didn't want to set the mill levy any higher than what it already is.
"The policy is at least we live in our current means," Cohen said.
The 41.655 mills the council approved, which matches this year's mill levy, is the maximum limit for 2003, but the council can modify the budget, which could eventually lower the proposed mill levy.
Council Member Ted Brecheisen said he also did not want to see an increase in the mill levy and suggested cutting items from the budget.
"I definitely think we need to take a long, hard look at it," Brecheisen said. "I think at some time we've got to start saying no to some of these things. We've got to try to counterbalance something here.
"We're already going to be raising utility rates," he said. "The cost of utilities, like electricity, is going to make living in Baldwin City, Kansas a little more expensive."
Some of the items included in the proposed 2003 budget include increase health and liability insurance, a deputy city clerk position, a replacement one-ton truck, an additional patrol car and three new video camera units for the police department.
Pearse said she didn't think 1.225 mills, or about $20,000, could be cut from the proposed 2003 budget.
"It's not going to be easy," she said. "We've worked, the finance committee, has worked very, very hard to get this down to where it is.
"I'd hate to limit it to that if it can't be done without cutting something we can't do without," she said.
The council will have a committee of the whole meeting to discuss next year's budget at 7 p.m. July 9 at the city hall. There will be another committee of the whole meeting, if needed, July 16.
The public hearing for the 2003 budget will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Baldwin City Public Library.
In other business, the city council:
Approved in a 5-0 vote the appointment of Robert Bayer to the library board.
Approved in a 5-0 vote to begin the procedure to create an assessment district to pave Chapel Street from First Street to Second Street.
Approved in a 5-0 vote to eliminate the R-S1 and R-S2 zoning districts. The planning commission recommended the elimination of these residential zoning classifications because they were not used.
Tabled discussion over amending the ordinance for residential estate zoning to the next council meeting. The council would like the planning commission to discuss residential estate zoning and changes to the ordinance further before making a decision.
Tabled a decision to vacate a portion of an alley on the west side of town north of College Street near Summit Street.
Kevin Jones, manager of right away for Midland Railway, challenged the earlier vacation of the other half of the alley that occurred during the first part of May.
Jones said the city violated state statute by not giving 20 days notice of a public hearing before vacating the first half of the alley.
Building official Jim Tarwater said notice of petition of vacation needed to appear two consecutive weeks in a newspaper.
The city will look into the state statute and a decision on the alley will be made at the next council meeting.
Met in executive session for 25 minutes to discuss personnel and land acquisition. No action was taken following the closed-door session.