City of Fulton City Council met Nov. 16.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
Budget Planning Session
Mayor Ottens called the Planning Session to order at 9:00 am, and directed the Deputy Clerk to call the roll. On roll call Mayor Ottens, Aldermen King, Mask, VanKampen, Crosthwaite and Field were present. Aldermen Banker, Nederhoff, VanZuiden, and City Clerk Nederhoff were absent. Staff members present were City Administrator Boonstra, PW Director Clark, Chief Bartels and Deputy Clerk Garibay were present. No members of the media were present. Fulton citizen, Zach Ratcliff was in attendance.
Mayor Ottens turned the meeting over to City Administrator Boonstra with an open table forum. Discussion started with dividing objectives and priorities into groups: General Administration, Police, Streets, Parks, Tourism and Economic Development.
Aldermen were asked what priorities they would like to see take place within the upcoming fiscal year.
• Signage and “Way Finding” were discussed. This would allow more information in brief for patrons visiting the area. Way Finding would allow visiting bikers on the pathway more detail information of what they could stop and see in the downtown area. “Ordinance Review” was also a priority.
• Street lighting, sidewalks and allies (in this particular order) were the main topics. All Aldermen agreed that these were main issues that need attention along with drainage issues in several areas.
• Computers and additional vehicle were mentioned by Safety Committee Alderman King. Also a brief discussion on a possible large increase in dispatching fees were noted
Tourism and Parks
• Many items were discussed here. Alderman Crosthwaite would like the City to improve on the river front and expand off the Marina.
• Mayor Ottens would like to see “curb appeal” improvements throughout the City.
• Alderman VanKampen would like the City to sponsor Fall Festival and the Christmas Walk
• Alderman Mask would like to see general maintenance to the entire downtown
• Other topics of interest were a fishing pier, docking pier (possibly at Heritage Canyon), a kayak launch area, the “Blecha Corner” plaza area rehab, Heritage Canyon building sponsorships and a boat launch at Cattail Park.
• Continue focus on land sales and expansion of business
City Administrator Boonstra presented the attendees with a first draft of the 2020/2021 Budget. The spreadsheet consisted of the current budget in comparison with the new proposed budget.
With a proposed 4.75% increase in the upcoming tax levy, the bottom line resulted in a $154,158 deficit. This did not reflect any possible capital expenses; such as might be needed for equipment or any other previously mentions updates that were discussed earlier in the meeting between the Aldermen.
Alderman Crosthwaite expressed here concern that “Budget Control” is needed desperately. There is definitely a spending problem which needs to be addressed.
Alderman Nederhoff, who was absent from the meeting submitted a letter to be read by Administrator Boonstra. His main message was that the revenues received by the City were NOT the problem. “SPENDING” was the problem. Alderman Nederhoff and Alderman VanZuiden head up the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee meets monthly and will be discussing possible solutions and making recommendations to the Council for discussion and approval.
Council direction is now focused on the Administrator and the Staff to research possibilities in cuts and cost adjustments which can be made in the individual departments.
There was a brief discussion on the sale of recreational cannabis. Aldermen Mask and VanKampen commented on a visit to the Medical Dispensary. Manager Jeff Soenksen was there to answer man questions and concerns that they both had.
Mayor Ottens reminded the Aldermen that they could vote to allow the sale of cannabis in Fulton at an upcoming meeting in December, after the Whiteside County Board votes on the sale of cannabis in the County on December 17, 2019.
Resident, Zach Ratcliff commented on a couple different issues. As a resident, he encourages the Council to take a second look at the recreational cannabis vote. The City needs the revenue. He would also like to see more Government data and financial information put on the City’s website. This would allow easy access to this public information. He also asked if the Code of Ordinances had been updated. American Legal Publishing has updated the Code of Ordinances on their website within the past month.
The next scheduled Budget Planning Session will be scheduled in January 2020. Information on the next meeting will be posted on the City website as soon as determined.
With no further discussion, Alderman Mask, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite to adjourn the meeting. With a voice agreement, the meeting was adjourned at 11:05 am.