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City Commission Meeting: Tentative millage rate to remain the same

During the regular meeting of the Madison City Commission on Tuesday, July 11, City Manager Tim Bennett recommended the City Commission set a tentative millage rate of seven mils. One mil is one dollar per $1,000 assessed value of a piece of property. This rate of seven mils would be expected to bring in $611,304 in ad valorem taxes for the City. This is based on the current gross taxable value of $87,329,149. This seven mils rate is the same rate as the current rate. The Commissioners passed this tentative rate with a unanimous vote. There will be a public hearing on this tentative rate during the regular City Commission meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 5:30 p.m. In other business, Wanda Violet presented a letter written by her husband, James Glaser. Violet and Glaser produce the popular “Tellebration” story-telling festival every year at O’Tooles Herb Farm. Glaser was dissatisfied with some communications he had received from some city officials. There were some city officials who had the Tellebration event confused with some other events. After Violet finished reading the letter from her husband and made a couple of brief comments herself, Bennett apologized for the misunderstanding and reiterated the fact that he was very happy with the success the Tellebration event has had over the past four years and hoped for continued success. That sentiment was echoed by several of the Commissioners as well. The consent agenda was approved. Among the items on the consent agenda were: rejection of current bids and re-bid for the installation of vortex separators in Lake Frances, as well as appointments to the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council and to the Madison County Tourist Development Council. In the month of June, the Madison Police Department (MPD) responded to 2,174 calls. There were 93 total offense/incident reports, including one residential burglary, one robbery, five aggravated assaults, and six domestic violence batteries. In the month of June, Madison Fire Rescue (MFR) responded to 27 county fire calls at a total cost of $4,035. These calls resulted in damages of $15,000. MFR also responded to 17 calls within the city during the month of June, resulting in no damages. Robin Riley from Brown and Brown, Public Risk Insurance Agency made a presentation regarding health insurance provided for city employees. The Commissioners voted to renew the current health plan for city employees. The Commission voted to change the group dental and vision plans in favor of other plans that offer the same, or better benefits, at a lower cost. Madison County Coordinator Brian Kauffman addressed the Commissioners about transportation improvements in the City’s northwest quadrant, specifically in the area of the Agricultural Center and O’Neal’s Restaurant. It was suggested that increased parking should be made available. This would help reduce congestion on College Loop and allow for greater pedestrian access to the Agricultural Center. More parking in the area would also make the area safer because of the number of cars backing out of O’Neal’s Restaurant onto U.S. Hwy. 90. Because of safety concerns, it is likely the Department of Transportation would fund the project with grant funds. The implementation could begin in 2018. Kauffman also made a presentation to the Commissioners on a property transaction between the Peacock family and the County. The Peacock property is adjacent to two parcels the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) purchased for the City of Madison approximately eight years ago. Both parcels have abandoned structures, and the County would like to remove the two structures as part of a grant from the SRWMD. The County plans to use their equipment to demolish the structures on each parcel and haul the debris to the landfill. There is a possibility the smaller structure may be able to be sold at auction to help reduce the landfill expenses. If the smaller structure does not sell, it will be demolished and hauled to the landfill. With the City Commission’s approval, the County will begin demolition within the next 30 days. The City Commissioners voted to approve the demolition. Bennett presented a code enforcement update for the City. Bennett also presented the monthly financial report. At this point, 75 percent is the target for revenue and expenditures nine months into the fiscal year. General fund revenues are at 91.8 percent. Enterprise fund revenues are at 70.5 percent. General fund expenditures are at 82.2 percent. Enterprise fund expenditures are at 68.4 percent. General fund revenues are the taxes collected, primarily ad valorem taxes. Enterprise funds are from fees such as water, sewer, etc. The next scheduled meeting of the Madison City Commissioners will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be in Madison City Hall, located at 321 SW Rutledge St., in Madison.

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