City adopts 2020-21 budget plan


The Cottage Grove City Council adopted the city’s 2020-21 budget in the sum of $40,221,120 on June 22.

Due to the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent responses, much of the budget relied on more guesswork than usual, according to an introduction to the proposed budget written by City Manager Richard Meyers.

“We have scrambled trying to find accurate estimates of what the impacts the economic shut downs have caused and are continuing to do to our revenues,” he said.

Revenue loss estimates ranged from 12 percent to more than 40 percent and the duration of economic losses were estimated to range between six months and the year 2022.

In creating a flexible budget, protection of “police, water, sewer, street operations and the service functions that make sure those services can be provided” was taken into consideration as were assistance projects to jumpstart the local economy.

The city’s permanent tax rate continues to be $7.2087 per $1,000 of assessed value.

“I honestly have to say, I am totally unsure about what the next year will bring,” wrote Meyers in the proposed budget. “The 2020-21 budget will have to be closely monitored.”

The adopted budget came in $1,742,850 less than the 2019-20 budget.

In other City Council news:

Parklets

Councilors approved two applications for the construction of parklets in front of downtown businesses Jack Sprats and Axe and Fiddle.

Two applications from developer Les Blackstone were rejected due to the accompanying businesses not yet being open.

In their June 8 meeting, councilors voted to proceed with a two-year parklet pilot program, with dissenting votes from councilors Mike Fleck and Kenneth Michael Roberts.

Parklets are sidewalk extensions into street parking spaces which provide space for people to rest or dine, often with seating and tables.

The structures are promoted as a cost-effective way to add public gathering space and attract more businesses and consumer activity to an area.

The pilot study will accept applications from through Nov. 15, 2021 and issue a total of three parklet permits for the study period, limiting installment to one parklet on each block frontage.

The parking study will provide data on vacancy rates, frequency of space usage and usage rates of surrounding parking lots.

“While I still have grave concerns over this … I do agree with the council’s direction on this,” said Fleck.

On June 8, Fleck expressed reservations about the project due to the lack of a parking study and concerns about people sitting adjacent to the right-of-way.

Councilors also amended the project to apply only to businesses which serve food.

Final designs for the parklets are expected to be ready next week.

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