Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

January 28, 2014

Higher rental permit fees?

(Continued)

Several line items in the projected police budget worksheet were discussed more than others.

One was the amount of fees generated by golf cart licenses versus the cost to the city’s insurance. Golf cart license fees for FY 2015 is projected at $700. The city currently pays $800 a year in insurance for the golf carts, Antonen said.

“So either we need to get some more golf carts licensed or get them off the street,” Antonen said. “It might be something to look at in the near future because we are losing money every year on that because we are not taking in enough to cover our insurance.”

The other item in the projected police budget worksheet that caused some discussion was the school resource officer.

Councilman Rob Lind voiced his concern about the school paying its fair share of the resource officer’s salary and retirement.

The FY 2015 budget projects the school district will pay $55,889, or 75 percent of the resource officer’s salary and retirement.

Police Chief Tom Demry said the school district pays for 190 days of the resource officer’s employment. He works 40 hours per week but is off when the school is on break.

The FY 2015 projected police budget worksheet shows expenses are down by approximately $27,000 from FY 2014.

Perhaps the more controversial projected budget was the one submitted for the building department and one of its 12 revenue line items: Rental permits.

The building department for FY 2014 budgeted $2,000 in revenue from rental permits. The FY 2015 building department budget worksheet is projecting $45,000 in rental permit revenues.

Why the projected $43,000 increase in rental permits?

Currently, Centerville charges $25 for a two-year rental permit no matter how many rental units a landlord has, George Johnson, building and code compliance officer, said. There are approximately 900 rental units in Centerville, he said.

Nearby communities charge landlords $25 per rental unit per year, leveling the playing field between those with one and those with 50, Antonen said, adding it was a landlord with multiple units in Centerville and Ottumwa who first brought the idea to the attention of the city.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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