Today is Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Council tightens spending after sales tax revenue drops again

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In his Mayor Pro Tem report, Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer notified the council that sales taxes were down to $645,541 from the projected budget figure of $718,000 again in October.

This means in three of the four months in this fiscal year these revenues have been lower than expected, according to Accounting Manager Stuart Lawson. However, he added that Christmas buying may help improve the average.

Farmer also noted that if this trend continues the next budget will start out with a potential shortfall between $1.2 and $1.9 million

Council approved on second and final reading three ordinances to bring one piece of land into the city, zone that piece and rezone an adjoining piece to allow the CoreTech Park project to continue as planned.

Council also approved on first reading an ordinance to offer a special incentive  package for CoreTech. The package includes an abatement of taxes on personal property and elimination of the sewer surcharge fees.

The council passed on second reading an ordinance that would allow businesses on the Square to remodel upstairs areas and turn them into living quarters. The ordinance doesn’t mean anyone can immediately move into one of the upper stories of buildings on the square. Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry said that the owners will have to remodel these areas to comply with building and safety codes before anyone can live in an upstairs apartments.

And the owners will still have to obtain a certificate of occupancy to ensure that the building is safe to use as a residence.

The councilors heard from several people supporting changes in the zoning codes regarding electronic signs. They then passed on first reading an ordinance requiring that electronic message signs be dimmed or turned off from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. if they are within 250 feet of a residential area. The signs would also have to not change messages during those hours.

Council also passed on second reading an ordinance defining terms about the signs in the code. It defined flashing and animation. Flashing signs are prohibited in some areas but animated and scrolling signs are allowed.

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com.

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