If you are checking the city website from time to time, especially the “governance” tab, you will see that we are starting to pass some ordinances. Eventually these ordinances will be codified into a municipal code that will make it easier for people to find the regulations under which the city is operating. Of note are recently passed Ordinances 2021-004 & 005.
Ordinance 2021-004 establishes an interlocal agreement by which the city and HISID will work together to provide fire protection. The law requires a city of the 2nd class to assure fire protection for its residents. It does not require the city to actually establish its own fire department. The law anticipates that many smaller communities do not have the resources to independently maintain a fire department and consequently allows for the city to partner with an existing certified fire department. Which we have done. In practical terms, the HISID Fire and Emergency Response Department will continue to do what they have always done. But will now have additional funding from the city. The city funds will come from our share of the Carroll County sales tax that we are now receiving on a monthly basis.
Ordinance 2021-005 sets the salaries for the mayor and council members at zero dollars. A commitment we made prior to the election. The ordinance also sets the Recorder/Treasurer salary at $2400 per month. The Recorder/Treasurer position may very well be the most important position in the city government since that person must receive all funds from all sources, properly deposit those funds, and make sure that all disbursements are made within the laws of the State and the city budget. In addition to handling all finances, the Recorder/Treasurer acts as the clerk for the city and as such must properly archive all records, retrieve those records, when necessary, as in response to a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, provide minutes of all meetings and be the primary liaison between the city, County, and State.
In addition to the ordinances, Resolution 2021-021 was also passed allowing me to establish a Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development. This task force will be made up of volunteers representing the stake holders in the community. This would include commercial, retail, light manufacturing, medical/dental, real estate, developers and investors, financial institutions, city, County and District officials, citizens at large and more. The initial objective for the Task Force will be to determine our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and in general determine what we want to be five, ten or twenty years down the road. Council Member Jerry Pittman is helping with this effort.
Lastly, I would like to say that we are making progress on code enforcement. Ordinance 2021-002 authorized the city to establish a planning commission. That’s the easy part. The near-term difficult part includes creating planning and zoning maps, drafting ordinances covering land use, zoning, building codes, permitting processes, enforcement and more. Much of this information already exists with the current Planning Commission and/or within the restrictive unit covenants. But must be set up in the proper format under the city structure. Some ordinances and procedures must be created from scratch. Mickey Finefield and the current Planning Commission are doing an incredible job and we need for them to continue to keep the train on the tracks until we are ready to transition certain responsibilities to the city. Eventually we will need a Code Enforcement Officer since rules have no benefit if you can’t enforce them. The 2022 city budget will address that.
One last piece of business. By law we must establish wards for future city council elections. We will be having an open to the public workshop on that subject on July 13th at 6:00 PM. Watch for the announcement.