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Tax assessment resolution approved

By Staff | Dec 10, 2013

A resolution that approved the method to collect non ad-valorem assessments drew discussion on City Council Monday night.

Newly elected Councilmember Rick Williams said it seemed like a gung-ho way to tax residents, especially with the amount of assessments that are on the list.

But Councilmember Rana Erbrick said many of those assessments on the list aren’t used by the city, but need to be there just in case.

“It’s just another tool we have in the tool box,” Erbrick said. “We have not assessed them and have no plans to do so.”

Councilmember John Carioscia also had questions, such as why doesn’t the city vote on assessments when they need them.

Victoria Bateman, the city’s financial manager, said doing so would take options away for fiscal year 2015.

“Timing is critical if you want to do anything for the budget,” Bateman said. “If this doesn’t pass, it would crimp our ability to use assessments.”

The resolution passed 6-1, with Williams dissenting.

The city also discussed an interlocal agreement between the city and Lee County regarding its use of space within fire stations for its emergency vehicles and personnel.

The five-year term would pay the city $68,711 per year, up from $30,775 in the previous agreement.

It also agreed to the interlocal agreement for the provision of fire protection services in unincorporated Lee Country in the Burnt Store area.

The county’s payment will be $716,967 for fiscal year 2014, up from $602,000 last year, assuming a “ready-to-serve” methodology.

In other business, the city approved deviations for a new sanctuary building at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, adopted an amendment to the city’s investment policy, and amendments to the definitions of a kitchen and a dwelling unit.

Kitchens are considered both indoors and outdoors and do not require storage cabinets to be considered a kitchen.

The ordinance was instituted to prevent illegal modifications of dwellings

Also, Councilmember Rana Erbrick had a presentation for the family of Gary Vandenberg, a member of the Citizens Police Review Board and numerous other committees, who died in April.

Joe Cobb, a member of the committee and good friend, said Vandenberg stepped forward and gave that committee the expertise it needed.