Last night’s council meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s meeting:

Storm water solutions

Our city engineer recommends $8 million in storm-water improvements to help prevent flooding in Stow. As you might expect, we don’t have a spare $8 million.

Last month, Mayor Kline (now married, fka Mayor Drew) introduced legislation to raise the monthly storm water fee by $5 per household or business. It would raise about $650K extra per year. The proposal didn’t make it out of the finance committee. Last night, Jim Costello introduced that same legislation on the floor of council. It was provided a first reading.

Earlier in the evening, Brian Lowdermilk and Bob Adaska proposed a competing solution for funding the $8 million. Their proposal would use the fund’s existing $750K per year on ONLY storm-water projects. (Over the years, the fund has been used for other purposes–related to storm water, but not directly tied to improving city infrastructure.) Bob and Brian’s proposal would free up at least $400K in extra money per year for projects. If these funds were used to pay annual debt service, we could make a bond issuance of about $5 million.

We will be discussing both proposals in the coming weeks.

2016 budget

The budget passed last night by a 4-2 vote. Riehl and Costello voted no, although it seems as if Costello’s “no” was accidental. Riehl objects to the fact we are spending more money than we are taking in. I share his concern, but I voted “yes” for three reasons: 1) We had to pass a budget by next Thursday, or else we will be in violation of state law. 2) There was one amendment to improve the budget (reducing clerk of courts’ allocation); it passed and became part of the budget. 3) This budget will actually be balanced so long as our income tax growth matches the 4.6% growth in 2015.

Council will meet next on April 14.