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City warns water rates might rise

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By Jay Cason

At Monday evening's city council meeting, Lawrenceburg Mayor Edwinna Baker proudly proclaimed in her annual State of the City address that the city "was able to stay within the confines of the 2007-2008 budget" and that she planned to do the same for the new fiscal year that starts July 1.

She added that no tax increase is planned, but it is possible that water rates might have to be increased "down the road in order to meet the requirements of our bonding company."

Other issues addressed at the council meeting included unanimously passing the first reading of the new budget, two zone change requests and an amendment to the city occupational tax ordinance. The council also was informed that except for cleanup, the Stringtown and Bluegrass sewer projects are completed.

State of City and budget

The budget approved on first reading included slightly less money in the general fund, down from $3,126,650 in 2007-08 to $3,098,800 in 2008-09, and a $2.2 million decrease in the water and sewer fund. But the mayor said those decreases primarily were reflections of projects being completed that were funded by flow-through grant money.

Baker said the lower general fund budget doesn't include one-time revenue from the sale of the old police department building, or grants for improvements at the city park and cemetery.

She said the water and sewer budget is more complicated.

"We cut about $500,000 of waterline projects that we usually do," she said.

"The rest is the result of the Stringtown sewer line and Bluegrass sewer projects, and the water meter replacement projects being completed.

"But it is possible we'll have to increase charges for water in the future to meet bond requirements.

"It is important to note though that with the lack of growth in our city, this causes a reduction in (tax) revenue.

"The 2008-2009 budget is going to be somewhat leaner."

However, the mayor said a cost of living increase for employees, with no reduction in benefits, was included in the new budget.

"And the budget does not include any additional revenue or increase in taxes," said Councilman Sandy Goodlett, who chairs the council's finance committee.

Zoning

"I'm proposing to build a 37-unit age-restricted facility," said Terry Duckwall, as he explained his request to have property at 420 and 422 N. Main St. re-zoned from R-2 (two-family) to R-3 (multi-family).

"We'd take down the remaining structure and build one bedroom apartments with an age 50 restriction."

Duckwall said a 6-foot privacy fence that would include a combination of masonry and wrought iron on the front would surround the facility.

"We have also gone 10 to 15 percent more than is required for runoff and drainage," he added.

Councilwoman Brenda Gritton's comments seemed to represent the feelings of the other council members.

"I think it's great to have a place where seniors can live," she said.

The council also approved Duckwall's request to re-zone property located near the intersection of U.S. 127 Bypass and Highway 44 to permit multi-family residences.

"I'd like to put at least two four-plexes or maybe two six-plexes," Duckwall said.

"It all depends on the money. We plan to design them so they look as appealing from the back as from the front."

Occupational tax amendment

The amendment to the city's business license ordinance, described as far as reasonable to be revenue neutral, adds language requiring applicants to provide a copy of either their state of federal income tax return when applying for or renewing a business license.

The amendment also requires applicants "whose gross income is made in part from business conducted outside the city of Lawrenceburg" to submit proof showing the portion of their gross income which was generated from business conducted within city limits.

"The business license fee of those applicants who fail to provide such information will be based on their entire reported gross income," according to the amendment.