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City Council sets 2010-11 budget hearing

Monday, March 1, 2010

Town clock for East Main Street approved

The Public Hearing for the City's proposed 2010-11 Fiscal Year budget was set for 7 p.m. March 9 by the Cherokee City Council at last week's meeting.

In a series of Budget Workshop meetings the past few weeks, the Council has continued reviewing the 2010-11 budget with department heads from Street, Water, and Sewer departments. City Administrator Don Eikmeier also discussed Debt Service, Aviation Authority, Solid Waste, Landfill, and Hotel/Motel Tax budgets with the Council.

Eikmeier also submitted for the Council's review information on revenue sources and possible deductions to aid in balancing the General Fund.

Major among possible revenue streams to enhance the budget is a proposed 3-percent franchise fee on gas and electric utilities. The 3-percent fee would generate approximately $160,000 per year, with $135,000 of that replenishing the City's depleted cash reserves, and the remaining $25,000 to go toward street improvement projects.

Gas and electric utilities currently charge a 1-percent local option sales tax on usage. If a franchise fee were to be implemented, that 1-percent local option tax would be removed, so a 3-percent franchise fee would be a net increase of 2-percent over what customers see on their bill. This would total an estimated $2 extra for a $100 utility bill, according to Eikmeier.

Also included in the proposed budget is $10,935 to the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation for 2010-11. Last year the City gave $21,000 to CAEDC but a revised funding formula presented by CAEDC Director Mark Buschkamp for FY 2010-11 is based on property valuations at 10-cents per $1,000, which relieves the pressure on cities in Cherokee County. CAEDC also continues to request and receive funds from business, industry, and private donations.

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Also in last week's meeting, the Council approved resolutions for refunding $2,830,000 in General Obligation Capital Loan Notes that would save the City an estimated $150,000 over the life of the Notes. The General Obligation bonds are being refinanced due to favorable interest rates on municipal bonds and after consultations with the City's finance bonding firm.

The Council also was informed by Council member Linda Burkhart of a proposal for a new City clock donated by the Paul Cedar family.

The attractive town clock, nearly 12-feet tall, would be erected on East Main Street adjacent to the Sanford Museum Park next to Jane's Salon to the east, and the American Theater to the west.

Called "The Newburgh," the two-faced clock fashioned after an antique time-piece, would face north and south and be a beautiful addition to the Museum Park area and to beautifully restored Downtown Cherokee. The base would attach to a concrete reinforced pad on the sidewalk just inside the decorative brick work at curbside, and be centered in line between two streetlights.

The electricity for the $5,000 clock will be provided by the Sanford Museum, according to Burkhart, Museum Director. Provider East Bay Clock Company said the Newburgh Street Clock is their most popular two-faced model. The customized header is accented with gold lettering of the buyer's choice, and the tapered fluted shaft is accented with gold trim.

The Council approved the clock and thanked the Cedar family for their unique gift. Delivery is approximately four weeks.

In other action, Eikmeier told the Council that the bus trip to the State Legislature in Des Moines to lobby for the Cherokee Mental Health Institute is tentatively set for March 10, departing Cherokee early morning and returning late afternoon.

Those interested can contact CAEDC at 225-5739.



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