GARRETT — The Garrett Common Council Tuesday introduced and passed on first reading the city’s 2020 wage and salary ordinances for appointed officers, employees and police and fire department personnel with 3% across-the-board pay increases.
A wage and salary ordinance regarding elected officials will be introduced at a later date.
A public hearing was conducted for the city’s 2020 budget, showing $2.6 million in the general fund, and $1.16 million in the motor vehicle highway fund.
Consultant Greg Guerrettaz of Financial Solutions Inc. of Indianapolis said the notice to the taxpayers is now a proposed budget estimate, worked out by the mayor and the clerk’s office. He noted changes to the budget are expected from the state.
“For the general fund, we always advertise a little high, because we never know what might happen. We always want to be able to fund the government adequately as we go forward, so advertising high is a way of making sure that we basically get the money that we need,” he said.
On Sept. 9, Guerrettaz said, the state auditor reported a mistake was made in the state funding formula, with the City of Indianapolis being left out of the formula. The error caused an 8% decrease in the road budget formula going forward. He emphasized continuing to pursue road and community focus grants. as cities and towns originally were to get a 50% increase in road funding, then it was reduced to 35%, and now another 8% had been cut.
“You might be lucky if you ever got 25% more,” Guerrettaz said. “Which even for the city the size of Garrett, is not a lot more, and we are just talking the gas tax.”
The overall proposed Garrett city budget totals $5.05 million, with an adopted property tax levy of $2.5 million and a new property tax rate of $1.51 per $100 of assessed property value.
Following the hearing, the council introduced and passed the budget on first reading by a 3-0 vote. Councilmen Brad Stump and Amanda Charles were not present. The council will adopt the budget at its Oct. 15 meeting.
The council also approved on second and third readings and adopted an ordinance amending parking and loading zones around the Garrett-Keyser-Butler School campus.
The changes supported by school Superintendent Tonya Weaver restrict parking on both the north and south sides of East Houston Street from Britton to Second streets in front of J.E. Ober Elementary School and on both the north and south sides of West Houston Street between Peters and Ijams streets in front of St. Joseph Catholic School between the hours of 7:30-9:30 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. New signs will be posted prohibiting U-turns on East Houston Street between Britton and Second streets.
Garrett High School senior Sydney West, president of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, reported the group’s plans and progress. The group was organized by Mayor Todd Fiandt a couple of years ago to offer input on how to bring more people into the community, which would in turn, help with the economy and the school, West said.
“This year will be a huge fundraising year,” she said, “We are going to put ourselves out there and do a ton of community service. Hopefully in the next month or so, plans are to do a biweekly or monthly activities within the community, so the community knows there is a younger council that wants to help.”
One major event planned later in the spring would be a family day for Garrett in Eastside Park, with food trucks in place and featuring musical talents of the community.
“We have a band starting up at the high school right now, trying to start doing cover songs. We just want to have a place where the families in the communities can go and meet other families,” West added.
The Youth Advisory Council now includes about a dozen members and is currently reviewing applications for 4-5 new members from underclassmen.
Capt. Craig Pepple reported officers made 167 total calls between Sept. 16-29 including 28 traffic tickets, 46 traffic arrests, and six property-damage accidents. Officers made 21 total arrests, including 12 for drugs, four warrants, three traffic arrests, and one each operating while intoxicated and battery arrests. Pepple noted 51 security checks were made during the period.
At an earlier meeting of the Board of Works, members approved agreements with three developers that would ensure funding would be set aside to protect the city in case developers do not complete projects. Agreements were made with Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools for the Brennen Estates, Custer Farms Inc. for Heritage Estates and with Rick Purdy for Woodview Estates.
Streets and Parks Superintendent Eric Mossberger reported the city has taken delivery of a new zero-turn mower, and a new mosquito machine has been ordered.
Mossberger reminded officials of the upcoming fall cleanup on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 7-11:30 a.m. at Washler Inc. on Forrest Park Drive. People are asked to drive south on Wiant Drive to Forrest Park Drive.