Crescent City moves forward on Eva Lyon Park improvements

CRESCENT CITY — City commissioners voted unanimously to green light proposed projects at Eva Lyon Park despite not knowing what Putnam County would be willing to contribute for improvements.

City Manager Patrick Kennedy said Putnam County Parks and Recreation’s board decided to recommend county commissioners approve money for the park.

“(The committee) did not specify an amount,” Kennedy said. “So we don’t know if the county is going to provide $500 or the $50,000 we asked for. It will probably be somewhere in between.”

Kennedy said he received approval from the state Recreation Development Assistance Program to start bidding and construction.

Crescent City received a grant from the program for $50,000.

“For all the improvements we want to do, (it) will cost $158,600,” Kennedy said. “That could go up and down depending on how things are pricing out.”

Kennedy also said the Rotary Club pledged $10,000 to the project to help with parking and stage.

“They are applying for a grant through the Rotary district,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he is hopeful the Rotary club will be approved for the grant request.

Kennedy requested a motion to move forward with the project including new electrical work, repairing the shuffleboard courts and replacing the existing tennis courts.

Kennedy said money for the remaining portion of the project would be taken from Better Place Plan funds the city received.

“There is a little over $460,000 in that fund,” Kennedy said. “But we’ve already committed dollars for the street sweeper, which we wrote that check this week.”

Kennedy said money was also committed to a storm water project currently underway in the city.

“By my calculations, we still have a little over $250,000 today in the Better Place Plan reserve,” Kennedy said.

Better Place Plan funds are derived from a 1-cent sales tax.

Kennedy said he wanted to bid the stage for the gazebo separately because it would involve design and engineer plans.

“I really think we need to go ahead and do the whole park,” Commissioner Harry Banks said. “It’s a showcase of our town. It’s not just our park, its everybody’s park.”

In other business:

* Commissioners heard the first reading on fee schedule adjustments

“(T)his ordinance is to bring together all of the fees we deal with,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said it would reduce the cost of several fees in planning and zoning and with business tax receipts.

“Some of our fees are a little erroneous and beyond what is really needed,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he was requesting appeal fees to increase from $100 to $250.

“I like (the adjustments) idea because I’ve had people fuss about the cost of doing business,” Commissioner Judith West said.

* An amendment to the city employee money and purchase pension plan and trust was presented.

“This incorporates some changes we’ve made over the last five years,” Kennedy said.

One change allowed was for police officers to take money out of the plan and put it into a police pension plan.

“They weren’t allowed to participate in this pension, but they weren’t allowed to take their money out and invest it in another plan,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the changes were already approved and implemented, but the resolution incorporates the changes into the main document.

Commissioners approved the resolution unanimously.

* The city accepted a U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant for purchase of police cars.

Kennedy said the grant amount couldn’t exceed $48,750.

The grant will cover 75 percent of the costs to replace two vehicles currently in use that have exceeded expected life span, Kennedy said.

“We would be on the hook for $16,250,” Kennedy said. “The resolution verifies everything we’ve talked about.”

Commissioners approved the resolution unanimously.

* Commissioners also approved advertising for the League of Cities annual conference, agreeing to spend $400 for a half page.

* Commissioners approved utility collection write-offs for 2009 and 2010. Total cost for the write-offs was $19,000.