Economy was the noun to describe Hillsboro's City Council Tuesday evening, July 30, as it was two for one night; the public hearing to answer questions about the budget convened at 6:45 p.m., and a special meeting to approve the budget and its appropriations followed at 7 p.m.
Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan presented the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget to the council, characterizing it as "tight" partially because of an expected reduction in revenues. General Fund revenues are anticipated to be approximately $3,675,000 with expenditures to be $3,672,000, which leaves a balance of a +$3,000. Other funds (Water and Sewer, for example) also have to be appropriated for, so Duncan asked for $9,870,965 in total expenditures.
Because the law prohibits voting on the budget at the public hearing, a special (not regularly scheduled) meeting of the council began at 7 p.m.; councilman Mike Murphy had a prior commitment and couldn't attend either session. The Public Safety Commissioner did send a text message relayed during the public hearing by Mayor Brian Sullivan saying he'd met with Police Chief Randy Leetham and Fire Chief Joe Lyerla before supplying Duncan with budget requirements for those departments. He pointed out that the police overtime hours had been reduced from 1,000 hours to 260 in the '18-'19 fiscal year.
During the regular meeting Duncan moved the council accept the budget, which includes money for projects at Central Park and the South Marina as well as street and sidewalk work around the city. That motion passed 3-0.
The next motion, also by Duncan, put spending teeth into the budget by appropriating the $9,870,000 from the budget so the money can be spent as the need arises. That too passed 3-0.
The rest of the meeting dealt with special funds and hiring/swearing in of a new police officer. Tim Siverly, who had been an auxiliary officer, was first hired and then sworn in as Hillsboro's newest officer and will enter an academy August 18. Mayor Sullivan performed the oath-taking duties.
"I am thrilled with the addition of Mr. Tim Siverly to the Hillsboro Police Department, and even more excited that we are making an investment in our community by hiring yet another young person who has a passion for law enforcement and a public servants heart," emailed Commissioner Michael Murphy. "They are investing as much in the City of Hillsboro and this department as we are in them. I’d ask the public to extend to Patrolman Siverly their warmest welcome as he hits the streets to serve our community. We are also very grateful to Sgt. Kelly Brewer for his years of service and commitment to our community."
Two economic development grants went to the buyer of Milanos' Cafe (more popularly know as Greasies) at 439 South Main Street. The council agreed 3-0 to give Tony Dragoo a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) grant of 20% of the cost of a new roof. Dragoo was present to explain his plan of installing a pitched roof; the current flat roof is leaking badly. He estimates the cost of the new roof to be $3,600. No money will exchange hands till the project is finished and the receipts are turned in. Dragoo has already gutted the building with plans to have a restaurant there.
He was also approved for a Facade Grant not to exceed $2,000 for work on the front and the north (that part which is visible from the street) walls; that work too must be complete with receipts available before a check is issued. Facade Grants are limited by ordinance to not more than 50% of project cost.
Approved was a Phase II TIF reimbursement to Brian Lee for work done at 229 South Main (across from Bank of Hillsboro). Phase I was the now-open beauty shop at that address; the next phase will involve the apartments above the stores.
The council next meets on Tuesday, August 13, at 7 p.m. in city hall; the public is always welcome to attend.