Princeton City Council Meeting, October 2, 2017
The Princeton City Council met in regular session Monday night at the Tourism Center in downtown Princeton.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer, and roll call, the council unanimously approved that Councilmember Jim Joiner sit in for Mayor Danny Beavers in his absence. The council then unanimously approved the minutes from the September 18th meeting and Councilmember Joiner presented the check register to pay bills as presented.
The council then heard various reports from the city’s committees and departments. Princeton Fire Chief Brent Frances stood and reminded those in attendance of the seasonal burn restrictions that started on October 1st. You can only burn after 6PM if you are within 150 feet of the woods or a thicket until December 15th, due to typically dry weather.
The meeting then moved to unfinished business. Councilmember Joiner read a note from the Caldwell County Farmers Market Organization accepting the city’s offer of $35,000 and the use of the land at the Princeton Park for a permanent pavilion. The pavilion will be covered under the city’s insurance, the city will provide $4,000 a year in the city’s budget for daily maintenance and upkeep, and there will be a $25 usage fee for any other events besides the farmer’s market. Representatives from the Caldwell County Farmer’s Market were in attendance and addressed the council stating that they would be forming a committee soon to work hand in hand with the council to help employ funds, grants, and donations for the pavilion and upkeep.
Councilmember Kelly Crisp then gave the council an update on the Big Springs Park Project. He told the council that the grant application had been submitted to the Department of Local Government at noon on Monday and that he was optimistic that the city could receive up to half a million dollars. The city would then only have to raise around $60,000 to $70,000 to complete the project. Special guest, Nancy Mahaffey then addressed the council with some concerns over the park plan. She mentioned that she had seen in a plan released to the public that the lot behind her business, Newsom’s Old Mill Store, was designated as a parking lot. The lot is her property that she plans on using to expand her business and currently uses for deliveries and shipping operations. Though she is all for beautifying Princeton and doing updates to Big Springs Park, she did not think it was in the best interest for her business, nor other businesses beside her on Main Street, to convert the lot into a parking lot. Councilmember Crisp then spoke up, assuring Nancy and all those in attendance, that the plan released to the public was merely a jumping off point, a way to get the community to talk about the park and suggest ideas. The plan was drawn by an outside architect to use in the grant application process, not as a final project blueprint. Councilmember Crisp also mentioned that no discussions had ever been made between any officials about using her land in the project. Nancy then thanked the council for allowing her to bring her concerns.
The meeting then moved to new business. The first item of new business was the first reading of Ordinance 10-2-2017 which concerns the property tax rate for the City of Princeton. Since 1999 the City of Princeton has raised the property tax rate 4% each year. This year if the city so chooses, the 4% increase would be 15.7 cents for every $100 for real estate and 20.5 cents for every $100 of personal property. However, the city also has the choice to go with the compensation rate of 14.7 cents for real estate and 19.2 cents for personal property. After much discussion about whether to read the ordinance with the 4% increase or the compensation rate, Councilmember Crisp sponsored Ordinance 10-2-2017 with the proposed property tax rate to be that of the compensation rate. City Attorney Todd Wetzel then read the ordinance. It will be voted on during the next city council meeting.
The next item of new business was the approval of Executive Orders 2017-20 and 2017-21, which concerned the reappointment of Sherman Chaudoin and Paul Hooks to the Princeton Board of Adjustments with terms to expire October 1, 2021. After a motion and a second the council unanimously approved the reappointments.
The next item of new business was the approval of Executive Order 2017-22, which concerned the appointment of Kayla Thomas to the Princeton Board of Adjustments with a term to expire October 1, 2021. After a motion and a second the council unanimously approved the appointment.
The next item of new business was the approval of Executive Order 2017-23, which concerned the reappointment of Ellen Dunning to the Princeton Industrial Authority Board with a term to expire October 1, 2021. After a motion and a second the council unanimously approved the reappointment.
The next item of new business was the approval of Executive Order 2017-24, which concerned the reappointment of George Barber to the Code Enforcement Board with a term to expire November 1, 2021. After a motion and a second the council unanimously approved the reappointment.
The last order of new business was a proposal by Thurman and Campbell, PLC to extend financial consulting services to the city for a term of two years. Councilmember Joiner called for a motion to adjourn into a closed executive session since the matter concerned the hiring of personnel. After a motion and a second the council unanimously approved adjourning into a closed executive session. When the council returned to open session a motion was made to accept the proposal. After a second the council unanimously approved the proposal for Thurman and Campbell, PLC to provide financial consulting services to the City for a two year term.
The next Princeton City Council meeting will be held Monday, October 16th, and is open to the public.