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City Council Clips

Fireworks ordinance

The Cedar Springs City Council held a public hearing at its April meeting and approved the first reading of an ordinance regulating fireworks in the city.

Under the proposed ordinance, people may only use consumer fireworks in the city if it’s on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday, unless they have a permit. For instance, if someone wanted to use fireworks at a birthday party, they could apply for a permit to do so—but it must be made 15 days prior to the event. In order to receive a permit, the applicant needs to show proof of financial responsibility by a bond or insurance for possible damages to property or personal injuries resulting from the fireworks.  They also must not be within 15 feet of another person’s property except with permission.

The national holidays excepted include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day or Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Fireworks are also being added to the city’s noise ordinance.

The second reading on these ordinances regarding fireworks will be at the May 9 meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall. If they pass, they will become law.

City Budget

The City of Cedar Springs held its annual budget meeting on Saturday, April 13. According to City Manager Thad Taylor, the 2013-2014 budget, which uses $47,500 of the unrestricted fund balance to cover a gap between revenues and expenses, focuses mainly on providing basic, core services for the community. It still leaves $442,000, or 26 percent of budgeted expenses, in the fund balance. The Council has a policy of no less than 20 percent in that fund. Last year’s budget used $42,000 of the fund balance.

The new budget calls for a budget of $1,669,655 but revenues of only $1,622,200.

“Our revenues continue to go down,” said Finance Director Karen Mushong. “We cannot cut any more, without cutting major services.”

The city is losing money both in real property taxes and personal  property taxes. They will collect $19,500 less in real property taxes for 2012-2013, and trend looks to continue downward. The personal property tax will be phased out in 2014-2015.

Non-union office personnel have not had a raise in 5 years, and union personnel have not had one the last two years. Both groups will get a 2 percent raise this year, and the firefighters will receive a 50-cent raise. Taylor said that would add about $15,000 total to the budget.

The city’s sewer fund is operating in the negative, and residents can expect to see a small monthly increase, depending on how much water they use, to get the operations in the positive. It could be as little as $1 for 1,000 gallons, or $6.85 for 10,000 gallons.

Those wishing a copy of the proposed budget can visit City Hall or go to http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013-14-Budget.pdf

Public hearing on parking

The Cedar Springs Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing on amending Ordinance 176, section 36-95, on parking in the public right-of-way, and ordinance 177, section 36-38, on overnight parking on city streets between Nov. 1 and April 1.

Ordinance 176 addresses parking between the sidewalk and paved road, in the public-right-of-way, or lawn extension area, where this no curb and gutter. It would prohibit parking of vehicles there, and calls for all properties to be brought into compliance by June 1, 2016.

City Manager Thad Taylor said that a parking permit could be issued if there was no way to park two cars in a driveway. “There’s probably not more than 10, but we want to be attentive to their needs,” he explained. “It’s more of a judgment call. Until the entire city has curbs and gutter, we have to be flexible.”

He said people would only be able to park on a lawn extension unless there was absolutely no other way. “They would have to show a need, and would have to improve it so it was dust-free, by using either asphalt, concrete, or hard-packed gravel,” said Taylor.

Ordinance 177 clarifies parking on city streets after 3 a.m. and 6 p.m. between November 1 and April 1.

The meeting will be Tuesday, May 7, at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 66 S. Main.

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