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BP council approves budget for next year

By JIM MAGDEFRAU

BELLE PLAINE – With no objectors at its public hearing, the Belle Plaine City Council Monday night approved a budget for $4.7 million in spending next fiscal year.

The city plans on $5.7 million in revenues, up from $5.1 million this year, to allow for grants to help with the city’s Main Street streetscape project and its aquatic center.

The tax levy will be $16.48 per $1,000 of taxable valuation.

The city plans on a healthy carryover of $2.9 million to help in future years with the streetscape project and aquatic center.

Administrator reports

City Administrator Bill Daily gave an update on fire-damaged houses at 902 13th Street and 1409 Sixth Avenue. Daily has been in contact with the insurance companies, which are getting bids for demolition. However, he advised this is still a long way from being done.

Daily also reminded the council that the downtown revitalization presentation with the Vision Iowa board is March 10 at 10 a.m. in Des Moines. Belle Plaine is applying for a Community Attractions and Tourism (CAT) grant. This is rescheduled from February.

The city is working on an I-Jobs grant for a storm-sewer project.

Daily was given permission to attend the Main Street Iowa workshop March 17 in West Des Moines. It is focusing on setting up a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district in the downtown area.

Other business

In other business at the council meeting Monday night:

- A resolution was approved to submit an application to the Iowa Office of Energy Independence for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. This will help with energy-efficient lighting and other “green” elements in Belle Plaine’s downtown revitalization project. Daily said they are working on the amount they will request. The city has to show it will demonstrate savings by switching its streetlights.

- An agreement was approved with Belle Plaine Partners for Beautification to help the group get new community entrance signs to the west and north sides of town. They also approved a resolution stating the beautification group is consistent with the city’s efforts to improve the quality of life in Belle Plaine. This makes the City of Belle Plaine the fiscal partner, and will handle the money.

- Polar Bird Peppy’s Inc., Vinton, approved a license to operate Peppy’s ice cream trucks in Belle Plaine.

- The council discussed having the Department of Transportation (DOT) paint Highway 21 in Belle Plaine as a three-lane or four-lane road. This is for Seventh Avenue and 13th Street. Council member Harold Ealy said the three-lane approach is safer, and the road really isn’t wide enough for four lanes. Council member Garrison Reekers said he heard concerns about cars waiting for trains. Police Chief Kris Hudson saw this as the only drawback. Daily said another concern is trucks turning south onto Seventh Avenue. However, the DOT engineers saw benefit to three lanes vs. four lanes. Council member Craig Van Scoyoc questioned if there are problems with the way it is now with four lanes. Council members felt it was best to leave it as it is, and wait to see how the new school impacts traffic.

- Hudson presented concerns about parking on Eighth Avenue between 14th and 16th Streets, which has angled parking. It is the only residential area that has angled parking, while others have parallel parking. The city will draw up an an amendment to the city’s ordinance on parking.

- Hudson also discussed holiday pay for part-time officers. The council advised paying time and a half.

UPDATED March 2, 2010 11:28 AM

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