The Gower City Council spent most of their meeting Monday, March 9, discussing how best to deal with deteriorating condition of city streets.
The council has been discussing the street issue since November, and with input from City Attorney Joe Gagnon, they decided to move toward a November 2020 ballot issue for a one-percent capital improvements sales tax with a sunset clause.
Alderman Kenny Pike will be working with City Administrator Carroll Fisher to make a list of streets and roads which need the most attention, but some discussion included Smith Street, Fourth Street, and County Line Road (from 169 Highway to H Highway), although other locations were also discussed. They will also put together projected figures for what a one-percent sales tax might generate annually.
Fisher had told the council last year that some of the streets were in such poor condition that without attention, the street could be totally lost due to base erosion, and that the current city budget for street repairs did not allow city staff to adequately address all of the needs.
According to City Attorney Joe Gagnon, the city can designate a capital use sales tax from an eighth of a percent up to one percent, but those monies can only be used for the designated capital improvements designated by the ballot language, and depending on when the council determines to bring the issue to the voters.
The council also discussed the possibility of a retirement community coming to the city. The developer had contacted Mayor Chip Holman about the possibility of annexation into the city. The project, which is in the discussion stages, would include single-family and multi-family housing, with the possibility of assisted living facilities in the final stage.
Gagnon told the mayor and council that voluntary annexation was pretty straight forward, but it was another issue if the city was designating an area to annex without the landowners’ request for that action.
The only business not to get full council support was an ordinance related to municipal merchants licenses. Currently, the city receives $15 from each business and that fee will be increased to $25 annually. Alderman Randy Jameson was the lone dissenting vote on this issue, as the rest of the council members and the mayor supported this issue.
In other city business, the council approved a letter presented by City Clerk Gwen Ballou to be sent out to water customers regarding the city’s collection of past due water bills. They discussed and approved some facework for the council chambers, such as chair rails and painting.
Ms. Ballou also informed the council members that a state judge had visited the municipal court last week, spent a long day looking at the court operations, made some verbal comments about suggested changes, and will be sending a written report with recommendations to the municipal court. She did say that adjustments to court costs and fines as required by law had been made.
Under miscellaneous items, Mayor Holman informed the council about the East Buchanan girls basketball team qualifying for state semifinals on Friday, March 13, and informed them that a sendoff would be held for the team prior to leaving for state on Thursday, March 12, on Railroad Street at 10 a.m.
With no other business, the council meeting was adjourned at 7:54 p.m. The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 6, at 7 p.m.