Mayor Tom Naasz opened Tuesday night's short Beloit City Council meeting with compliments on the Chautauqua Isle of Lights.
In opening statements, 3rd Ward Councilor, Matt Otte, added that he is sending his prayers to Newtown, CT, after their recent shooting tragedy. Councilman Bob Richard, 1st Ward, thanked the city for the recent Christmas party. Councilman Bob Petterson expressed his gratitude for the recent rain, and Councilwoman Pat Struble wished everyone a merry Christmas.
In the City Administrator's report, City Administrator Glenn Rodden said that there has been progress on the Business Park road, which will continue if the weather permits.
Rodden also said that the compacting of the walking trail materials is almost complete. He also added that he has been receiving calls from some in the community regarding a mailer that has advertised water line insurance. He stressed that these are not from the city, and that the city knows nothing about the company doing this, but that it is legal.
Mayor Naasz then moved on to Resolution 2012-13 regarding the properties
At 113 and 115 E Main St. This resolution would be to deem them as blighted buildings, therefore, they would be eligible under state block grant funding to receive money. Councilman Kent Miller moved to pass the resolution with a second from Councilman Rick Brown, and the resolution passed unanimously.
In Formal Actions, the council moved to the business of the Health Family Coalition Proclamation. This Proclamation would deem December 2012 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Mayor Naasz read from the proclamation that it advocated for safe, drug free and sober driving on the road. It included prescribed drugs that may impair driving abilities. Naasz said that there are a lot of responsible drivers out there, but a few that aren't that can cost precious lives. Councilwoman Struble made a motion to pass the proclamation, adding that she wants to show the people of Beloit that the city cares about their safety. Councilman Petterson seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
The council also unanimously decided to move their previously scheduled meeting on January 1, 2013, to the second.
The next item was the Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, for the city employees of 2.2%. Councilman Richard said that he has corrected his position after having it more clearly described to him, and that he is in favor of the adjustment. Councilman Lloyd Littrell asked where Administrator Rodden for the 2.2% figure. Rodden said that the period that the city decided on was from October to October, and that it worked well for budget purposes. Councilman Richard said that he thought that seemed reasonable. The motion passed with all council members besides Littrell in favor.
Mayor Naasz then asked Administrator Rodden to explain the proposal for the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Beloit.
Rodden said that he has been working with Zoning Administrator, Chris Jones, to work a first rough draft of the plan.
Rodden said that the plain would cost from $20,000-50,000 depending on who is hired, and how long the plan is in place. He said that there must be a firm brought in to do the specifics of the planning to make the plan a comprehensive one of growth and development.
Mayor Naasz said that the plans are a great resource if they are used, but that staying on the roadmap they provide is the key. He asked Rodden for a past plan, and they can go from there. Councilman Littrell said that it is more than just a list of goals. He said that it is how you want the city to look down the road, and precisely how to get there.
Chris Jones said that the plans Beloit have used in the past have been too general, and that is hasn't been reviewed in a long time, which is legally required. Jones said that it is necessary to make and follow a plan to be consistent with the desires of the public. He said that he will produce the old plan, and that he will show them one from the city of Hays, which also used an outside firm. He also said that any city that uses zoning, which includes Beloit, is required to have a plan.
David Chase, who was in the audience, said that the community must be behind the plan for it to be effective. He said that elected officers change over time, and that the only way this will work is if it is something the community will support. He cited the North Campus project as being a good example of something succeeding with community support. He also added that cities that have comprehensive reports are eligible for certain additional funds.
Rodden moved to the North Campus project, which has had expenses of $93,433.33. He said that the school pays $50,000, but that the rest just pay utilities. He said that the city has not broken even, but that they have not sustained a very large loss on the property, and that his primary goal was to get the buildings filled and back in use. He said that in the future, his goal is to break even on the property. Councilman Richard echoed that sentiment.
Councilman Miller said that there is a lot of good being done for the community, citing Mitchell County Partnership for Children as one of the organizations doing good work. Mayor Naasz also mentioned the Early Learning Center and the Special Education Cooperative that are located on the North Campus. He said that it is important having these places showcased on the campus, and that it speaks volumes for Beloit.
Rodden said that a number of people have shown interest in the administrative building, and that it has been the hardest to fill, but has a lot of potential.
The meeting ended with Councilman Littrell asking Rodden about if the city needs to make budget amendments, since it would be the last meeting of 2012. Rodden said that he does not forsee that being needed and that the budget should be on target.
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