Oronogo Council places 1/2 cent tax for storm water control and parks on the April 6 election ballot

Tax has nearly reached its original purpose
of paying off $500,000 bond issue

Oronogo voters will be asked on April 6 to extend the city’s 1/2-cent sales tax for stormwater-control and park funds.

The tax was initially approved in 2010 to pay off a $500,000 bond issue. City Clerk Cyndi Jennings reported Monday during the Jan. 12 Board of Aldermen meeting that the tax has paid off $455,800 so far.

Without a vote to renew the tax, it will discontinue when the $500,000 is reached.

Mayor Tammy Talent said she was aware of the situation because she has previously been on the Park Board Advisory Committee.

Continuation of the tax would pay for improvements to the city’s storm water and park systems in a proportion determined by the board. 

The tax will not have a sunset under the ballot proposal approved unanimously by the board.

However, City Attorney Derek Snyder said a future board could remove the tax by passing an ordinance to that effect.

The city also collects a 1/2-cent tax to fund transportation projects, primarily for street maintenance.

FENCE REGULATION GOES TO WORK SESSION

A council bill to change the regulation of fence construction was not acted on. It was advanced to the board by the planning and zoning commission, following a public hearing. And it was tabled during the board’s Dec. 14 meeting.

Talent said she would bring it up for further discussion at the council’s next work session.

Prior to the non-action, there was a contentious discussion between Alderman Charles Wilkins (1st Ward), Talent and Snyder. 

“Why do we (aldermen) not get any input on this (the bill)?” Wilkins asked. He also alledged “dirty politics.”

“You’ve had input,” Talent answered, pointing out that the measure was discussed prior to it being tabled.

She said the language of the bill is taken from other area cities’ code books. 

Darrel Orender (3rd Ward) said it was time to look at the bill on its merit, not how it was put together.

Wilkins moved to reject the bill, but there was no second.

The bill would add a chapter to the land-use section of the code to require a sketch, showing easements, and $25 fee before building a fence. Part of the reason for the change is to cover the cost of having the building inspector inspect the fence. A decision by the building inspector could be appealed to the board of adjustments.

OATHS

Wilkins, citing state law, had previously questioned the legality of Snyder serving as the city’s attorney because he hadn’t taken the oath of office following the last municipal election.

Talent answered that question by having Jennings recently give the oath of office to most city employees. And Jennings offered to show documentation of those oaths.

Snyder provided a document showing he had taken the oath when he was first appointed.

He said the point of the law is to keep anyone denying to take the oath from the serving the city.

“It was not a big deal,” Talent said. “None of the other (board) members considered it an issue.”

Wilkins said Talent showed no respect for him by not telling him that the oaths were given.

CONNECTING SERVICES TO NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS

The board discussed at length the pros and cons of installing natural-gas lines, along with sewer and water lines, to more than 700 homes to be built in two large housing developments Hawthorne Hills and Greystone II.

It costs the developer more in tap fees if gas is installed, and there’s no guarantee the home buyer will want to become a customer of the city-owed gas system.

Meanwhile, the city wants to sell more gas and figures more homeowners would want the service if it didn’t have to be installed after the home is constructed.

The city would also like to get the gas line installed before streets are constructed.

CANDIDATE DEADLINE TUESDAY

The deadline to file as a candidate on the April 6 ballot is 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

So far, Matthew Kroutil has filed for the one-year term for mayor, and incumbent Rick Seeley (1st Ward), has filed for re-election.

Board terms are also expiring for Schelli Marti (2nd Ward) and Darrell Orender (3rd Ward).

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