Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 8, 2003

New Germany council votes to disband commission

By Dave Cox

The New Germany planning commission will be the latest casualty in cuts made Tuesday by the New Germany City Council in an effort to reduce a projected 21 percent levy increase for 2004.

The city council voted to disband the commission, a move that will save the city an estimated $300 per meeting, according to City Clerk Shelly Quaas.

Council member Steve Van Lith stated that with the council meetings being two times each month, it can handle any business currently being done by the planning commission.

Other council members agreed that with the size of the city, the planning commission is not an effective use of tax dollars.

Mayor Franklin Schoenke pointed out that it is possible that the commission could be reinstated in the future if development in the city increases to the point where it is warranted.

The council will need to pass an ordinance and publish a public notice to make the change official. It is expected to go into effect in October.

By the end of the preliminary budget meeting, which preceded the regular council meeting, the council shaved the proposed budget to $113,696. This amounts to a 12 percent increase over 2003.

Big ticket items contributing to the increase included a 25 percent increase ($4,700) for sanitation, and a 10 percent increase ($980) for police services.

Bob Roepke told the council that many construction projects in the city have been completed without a final building inspection.

Quaas stated that she has been in contact with building inspector Paul Waldron's office, and that several outstanding permits have recently received final inspections. She said she would follow up on any projects that are still outstanding.

Quaas pointed out that Waldron's office does send letters notifying property owners when final inspections are due, and the city receives copies of these letters.

The council approved a motion to amend the city's fee schedule to include a $50 penalty for property owners if a final inspection is not completed in a timely manner.

Van Lith reported that the fire department has purchased a 15-passenger van. The 1994 Ford will be used for training and to reduce the number of vehicles at scenes. The vehicle was purchased for $5,500, which the department had in a vehicle savings account.

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