73° F Monday, May 22, 2017

By Rollingwood Mayor Barry Bone
Special to the Picayune

Rollingwood budget season is upon us, and we need your input. The maintenance and operations tax rate was budgeted to increase from the effective tax rate of $.1412 per $100 of valuation to $.1524 per $100 of valuation. Based upon the 2012 taxable value of $469,134,540, this increases the revenue from property taxes by $52,543.
The new debt service tax rate will be $.06 per $100 in valuation. At the September City Council meeting, we plan to decrease the wastewater charges and rates to offset the debt service increase.
The following items are highlights for the proposed city budget. A city administrator is added for $80,000. The police department has increases of $10,000 for the chief, $5,000 for the sergeant and $5,000 for the detective. Other city employees are increased at 3 percent.
A website makeover is planned for $5,000, and seven iPads will be added for the council and staff. Currently, City Council packets are produced prior to council meetings and delivered to each member with one being available for the public’s use at City Hall. In an effort to increase efficiency, communication and transparency, the council packets will be emailed to City Council members and will be available for download from the city website. A digital copy will be available at City Hall.
Capital expenditures of $900,000 are planned for water system fire flow improvements, and a drainage study and improvements of $100,000 and other water system improvements of $100,000 are planned. We are also budgeting a $20,000 native-plant-landscaping demonstration project at City Hall that will include rainwater harvesting.
The second public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m. on Sept.19. Please attend or email your comments to the council or to me.
Significant attention and effort has been placed on code enforcement since I became mayor. If you believe our codes should be revised, we are always open to consider changes. If there is a physical or financial difficulty in complying, please let us know.
The City Council is considering changing the fence ordinance to allow front yard fences. Please give your input on this by completing the online or mailed questionnaire. We are also working on a new solid waste contract. Public hearings will be held during the Rollingwood Utility Commission meeting and the City Council meeting to discuss proposals for this service.
September brings the fourth City Council meeting during my term as mayor. I am very happy with the effort from our city employees. We are working as a team and providing city services in a professional manner. I am also proud of our Council; all members have stepped up to handle their responsibilities as liaisons to our boards, commissions and city departments. I am almost afraid to say this, but the length of our City Council Meetings has been reduced by almost 50 percent. Please consider volunteering for one of our boards or commissions. We need your help to continue making Rollingwood a great place to live.

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