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City Council Discusses Fiscal 2012 Budget

City Administrator Glenn Rodden gave a power point presentation for members of the Beloit City Council at their meeting last night. Rodden reviewed the proposed fiscal year 2012 city budget as drawn up by he and his staff. He recommended the Council approve the budget and the attached notice of publication. The formal budget hearing will be held on Tuesday August 18, 2011.

Rodden explained publishing this budget is a planning guide and a way for the Council to share their plans for the coming year with the public. After the presentation the Council voted 8 to 0 to approve the proposed budget so it can be published in the official city newspaper this coming week. If the public rejects the budget at the Budget Hearing, it can still be changed by the Council voting to pass an ordinance to amend the budget, Rodden said. The budget has to be turned in to the State of Kansas by August 23, 2011.

Administrator Rodden presented a set of guidelines for the Public Comment section of their meeting during their work session at their July 19, meeting. After giving the council time to look over the proposed change the issue was placed on last night's agenda to be voted on.

The Participation Guidelines state that the Beloit City Council is very interested in receiving input from the citizens of Beloit and encourage the attendance of and participation by the public in council meetings.

The new rules require that Citizens who want to speak during the comment section are to notify the City Administrator before 12 p.m. (noon) of the Friday preceding the next Tuesday council meeting. This requirement is to allow item to be included in the agenda and published in the official city newspaper. It also provides staff members and the council time to research your issue prior to the meeting. The public comment section will not exceed thirty- minutes unless the chair extends the time limit. Individual comments will be limited to three (3) minutes unless the chair grants additional time.

"The proposed new rules would allow the council to know what topics will be addressed at council meetings in advance. The change in procedure will not impact the ability of the public to comment on specific agenda items during the meeting," Administrator Rodden said.

After much discussion between the members of the council who felt strongly about the changes one way or the other, the vote was taken and resulted in a 5 to 3 split with Councilmen Matt Otte, Rick Brown, and Frank Delka voting to leave the rules like they are at the present time. The new rules will apply to all meetings in the future.

Before this vote Barbara Axtell was allowed to voice her question about the number of dogs running loose in the city. She was bit several weeks ago while out walking and has encountered several other dogs while out for walks. She was also concerned about her paper carriers who have problems with dogs running loose. Axtell was told to report this to the police or contact the city office. Tom Naasz, Council Chairman, who was in charge of the meeting in the absence of Mayor Becky Koster, said they need to get this problem under control as it is a City Ordinance that dogs are not to run loose.

The Council moved to adopt the 2090 Ordinance International Zoning Code. Passing this ordinance allows the city to add two new zoning districts (mixed use and office/institutional) to the city zoning code. It is anticipated that both of these new zoning categories would be used at the North Campus in the future.

The Council voted 8 to 0 to approve the release of funds from the Olive Schaffer Fund to the Beloit Port Library Board for the purpose of helping pay for the construction of the new library building on North Campus. This project is ready to go and the board will be ready to let bids on it in the near future.

In other business the board voted to approve the Parks and Recreation Building Contract for Joelle Lamb in the amount of $23,500. They approved the Graybar Electric transformer bid of $26,860.48 as proposed by Ronald Sporleder, Director of System Operations along with several other parts requested by that department.

Councilman Bob Richards asked how much longer the Mill Street project would take to finish. He was told by Mike Haeffele, Director of City Transportation, it should be done in about three weeks.

Richards also asked what was happening at the Crown Homes and Manske & Associates Construction Project. Administrator Rodden said, they are shifting gears on that project and the homes will be built in the Ackerman Addition instead of the Zimmer Addition of the city. There will need to be a street extension to allow for a cul-de-sac in that area. Rodden said the water and sewer line or done on the Mill Street project and the bridge on East Main is under construction.

Richards asked if it wouldn't speed things up if they went ahead and put new sewer line on up to 14th Street during this time. That way they could start laying concrete and start working on water projects right away next spring. Later in the meeting Councilman, James Crowley, came back to revisit this idea and said after thinking about it he did not believe they should tear out two blocks of sewer line and leave the ditch sitting open over the winter. The rest of the council agreed, as did Administrator Rodden and City Transportation Director, Mike Haeffele.

Rodden said, they plan to move into the new Law Enforcement Center shortly after Labor Day. He was in contact with the Wilson Company and they will have the final design for the Cooling Tower ready by the end of August and be ready to let bid on that.

Councilman Rick Brown told the Council he has been having complaints about the eye sore area directly east of the new pool site in the park. People are asking why the Council doesn't purchase that area, tear down the old building and make that into a parking lot. They could put in a walk through fence straight into the pool area to allow entry to the pool when the rest of the park is closed off.

Administrator Rodden said it becomes a question of money to do that. Councilman Crowley said the Pool Committee looked into purchasing this area but the owner wants more to buy it than they feel it is worth. They plan to look into this again next year. Rodden said construction would begin on the new pool as soon as the old pool closes following Labor Day weekend.

Councilman Brown also asked what could be done with the weed patch area in the North Campus farm ground and the weeds along the railroad tracks south of town. The issues were discussed but no decisions were made. There were no staff reports and the meeting adjourned.

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