Fairfield Bay City Council reviewed budget concerns along with moving forward on ordinance approvals at its Monday night meeting. The council also discussed ambulance demand and service.
In presenting the city’s budget report, Mayor Paul Wellenberger explained to the council that the fire department, despite showing money on hand, was “tight.”
“We need to try not to spend any money [on that department],” Wellenberger said. The department showed to have just over $55,000 on hand, but most of that, Wellenberger explained, was earmarked for Act 833 and bond funding.
Act 833 is money that, by state statute passed in 1991, is used only for department training and equipment. Act 833 showed to have $10,822.74 in its account. The fire sales and use tax showed $44,082.32, the most significant of the $55,000 -plus on hand. Wellenberger said that money was reserved for bond payment.
Once the bond payment takes place later in the year, Wellenberger explained later, remaining money could be transferred to cover other expenses in the department. Money for that fund is generated by the city’s’ half-percent fire tax.
Under “New and continuing business” the council considered two ordinances and a resolution. Each of the ordinances were read for the first time at the council’s June meeting.
The first of the ordinances was governing ATV and UTV operations in the city. Trails opening in the area have led to increased ATV and UTV operation and the ordinance had been proposed in order to regulate operations as the machines would at times use city streets in order to access trail heads. Since the previous meeting where the ordinance was first introduced, concerns brought up at that meeting had been addressed by a working group. The matter was not entirely settled, however, as the council debated the age-to-operate requirements for ATV and UTV operation.
The concern, as the council debated, was if the city wanted underage operators allowed to operate on city streets as a way to get back and forth to trail heads, or if the requirement should be for licensed operators when the ATV or UTV is on a city street. The council passed a resolution to update the ordinance to require a driver’s license or permit to allow operation of an ATV or UTV on city streets.
The ordinance was read into the record and approved, its second reading.
An ordinance is read into the record three times in order to become law. With this ordinance, as well as the two following, the council was following a more traditional route of reading the ordinance at each meeting. With the third reading, expected at next month’s council meeting, and with the vote to accept by the council, the ordinance will become city law. The council had decided to take this more traditional process - as discussed at its June meeting - in order to allow for public comment to council members.
The second ordinance, also on its second reading, was titled the “Peace and Safety ordinance.” This, also, reflected working group updates regarding regulations on waste, loud noise, loitering, obstructions and like matters, including ticketing and fines. It passed with little conversation, scheduled for its third reading in August.
A resolution was also passed by the council to separate its grant application for a Pickleball court from its Bocce Ball court application. The hope was, Wellenberger explained, that by separating the application into two grants it might result in the grant application being accepted, having been as a joint grant rejected in its previous two applications.
The council also hear of a forthcoming meeting between the city and Medic One ambulance. As EMS Captain Andrea Notz explained, the city had gone to increased helicopter transport of patients during the transition period as Medic One began county service, and before it opened an ambulance station in Shirley, near the Fairfield Bay entrance.
Since then EMS determined that patient care was improving due to helicopter transport and the ability to move patients faster, which at the same time presented less calls for Medic One, which had opened the Shirley station with the expectation of a certain number of calls.
In other council matters:
• A wet/dry election is still being investigated for a 2020 ballot. Discussions were underway with Clinton, as well as Cleburne County.
• The Tiny Homes development continues, but is moving slowly.
• The 911 center anticipates County Judge Roger Hooper signing the contract with AT&T for new center equipment “within the next couple of weeks,” 911 head Judy Wells told the council.
• The animal shelter has begun issuing tickets or warnings to expired city tag holders.
• The conference center will soon upgrade to LED lights as part of a three year contract.
• The Senior Center did not receive the applied-for AEDC grant for a generator. Waste Management and Recycling did receive a grant for large trash bags and 50 trash pickers for use by volunteers.