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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Around the County: Cold Spring City Council Passes Tax Rate, Looks Towards Fall

The city of Cold Spring will celebrate the season with a Fall Festival October 12.

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

In a short meeting of the Cold Spring City Council on September 23, members passed the city’s tax rate for 2019. The city decided to take the state’s compensating tax rate without any increases. According to state law, municipalities may take up to a four percent revenue increase in addition to the compensating rate.

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"I have received a number of phone calls this week because a lot of people think the city raised taxes. The county opted to take the compensating rate plus three percent, which is seven percent...I want to be clear that the city of Cold Spring has not raised taxes. The county has raised taxes," said Mayor D. Angelo Penque. He reiterated that while assessments have gone up, the tax rate has gone down this year.

The council voted to pass the tax rate of $ 1.56 per $1,000 in valuation. This year, the state Property Valuation Administrator assessed all properties in the city. The vote was four in favor (Cindy Moore, Michael Ruscher, Adam Sandfoss and Lisa Cavanaugh), one against (Paul Kloeker) and one member was absent (Christopher Ampfer).

First readings on two ordinances

City council also heard a first reading on an ordinance amending the city’s Code of Ordinances regarding departments, boards and commissions.

City attorney Brandon Voelker presented a recommendation from the city's Planning and Zoning board to change zoning on a residential parcel of property at 24 Chapman Lane. The property is currently zoned RRE, residential rural estate, and R3. The requested change, submitted by the property owners, would be to make the property R1C, residential.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the amendment with recognition that the RRE zoning is inappropriate to the property’s current situation, said Voelker. “There have been major changes of an economic, physical and social nature in the area involved that were not anticipated in the adopted comprehensive plan, which has substantially altered the basic character of said area,” he said.

Voelker also noted that residential rural estate zoning typically applies to large tracts of land, and the land in question was more of a traditional parcel found in a sub division.

To speed up the process for the owners who must wait for council approval, the mayor said council would hold a special meeting for a second reading of the zone amendment ordinance on Monday, October 14.

Safety concerns

A resident addressed council with concerns about the age and condition of some park equipment in the area behind the police department. A discussion of the matter followed with the mayor and staff voicing concerns about cost and the difficulty in finding parts for the equipment. Steve urged the city to shut down equipment that cannot be fixed. The mayor and council agreed to explore the issue further.

Council member Ruscher brought up concerns for traffic safety near the corner of Alexandria Pike and Downing Street, the scene of a fatal crash earlier in September. He said the light turns very quickly, and he is especially concerned about heavy equipment and trucks that do not stop completely at that light.

“I don’t know if it requires extra patrols there, or if we can do something through the state to get a longer timer on the light,” he asked.

Sandfoss agreed with Ruscher and said he is most worried about increased traffic with a new Panera soon to open in the area.

Penque said he has reached out to the state on numerous occasions and was told that the state would not look into the matter until after the Panera is open.

Police Chief Steve Collinsworth said his department could start with increased presence at the intersection and see if more can be done through the state soon.

Looking toward fall

The city will celebrate the start of fall with the Cold Spring Fall Festival on Saturday, October 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. in Municipal Park. The mayor invited all residents to come and welcome the season with bouncy houses, a petting zoo, hay rides, sno cones, cotton candy and other treats. Municipal Park is located at 5694 East Alexandria Pike in Cold Spring.

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