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Raise in tax rate discussed

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Four-percent revenue boost sought by city

By Brandon Mattingly

The first reading of an ordinance outlining the property tax rate in the city of Springfield for 2014 was presented at last week’s monthly city council meeting, and it will likely see an increase from the 2013 rate.

The rate for 2014 has been calculated at 15.24 based on an assessment by the Washington County PVA’s office, and that would allow for a four-percent increase in revenue over last year.

City Administrator Laurie Smith provided the example of a $100,000 property to give a general idea of how the increase would relate to previous rates. Based on 2013’s rate of 14.49, a $100,000 property equated to a tax bill of $144.90, while the proposed 2014 rate would come with a cost of $152.40 — or a difference of $7.50 annually.

A public hearing is to be held during the next city council meeting — Tuesday, Sept. 9 — and the second reading of the 2014 tax rate will be presented.

Trick-or-treat
Smith noted that with fall just around the corner, inquiries have been made to city hall in regard to this year’s trick-or-treat schedule in Springfield, and a date and time for the event was established at last week’s meeting.

City council agreed without opposition to set the date for the day of Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31. Trick-or-treat hours in downtown Springfield will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., while neighborhood hours will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The established times fall in line with the schedule of previous years in Springfield.

Light business
The city continues to work toward replacing damaged lights at the upper fields of Idle Hour Park, a project that is estimated to come at a cost of $120,000 to $140,000.

Smith noted that the city is currently finalizing advertising for the repairs and that moving forward, the council should consider seeking potential partners and funding sources.

A pair of new street lights will also be installed in the near future, on the heels of requests to provide additional lighting in needed areas.

One of the lights will be installed on Lincoln Drive — at the entrance of Oil Pros — while the other will be placed at the corner of Mockingbird Drive and Canary Court. Public Works Director Glenn Mattingly advised that he had examined both areas during the evenings and agreed that additional lighting was necessary.

Audit

Smith and Company was chosen for the responsibility of conducting an audit for last fiscal year — July 2013-June 2014.

A rate of $13,870 will be shared by the city of Springfield and the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, while a $4,944 single-audit fee will be covered by the water company.

Robertson building update

After two rounds of bids for the renovation of the Robertson building on Main Street, the results have come in over budget on both occasions. Smith advised that Johan Graham, the project developer, along with Kriss Lowry, CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Administrator, and representatives from AU Associates have reviewed the procurement policy and informed the state that they plan to begin negotiating with the most recent bidders to obtain “more desirable pricing,” if given permission to do so.

Appointments

Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Authority (SWEDA) added a pair of new members last week, as Wesley Smith and John Strickland were each appointed to the SWEDA board.

Mayor John W. Cecconi also announced the re-appointment of Mike Kays as the local ABC administrator.