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Sewer project balloons city's budget to over $36 million

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Despite revenue being about $500,000 short of anticipated, Shepherdsville city officials will have a balanced budget to vote upon at their June 22 meeting.

And thanks to the special sewer project and roadwork on Cedar Grove, the overall budget will exceed $36 million.

In looking at the revenue figures, the general fund expects an increase of $394,375 for a total of $5.6 million.

A big part of that is a grant for the fire department of $221,070, which will assist in paying for six full-time firefighters. This is a four-year grant. The city must pick up the salaries on the final year.

Property tax revenue is budgeted to increase to $1.4 million, a hike of $200,000 from the current year. Franchise fees are also supposed to increase by $70,000.

The city's share of the insurance premium tax will be budgeted at $500,000 for the coming year.

Occupational tax revenue is also expected to increase by $190,000 to $2.3 million in 2009-10.

The increases will have to overcome the drop in permit fees. Budgeting for $200,000 this year, the projected figures by the end of June will be just $27,000. In the coming year, the city is budgeting $100,000.

The city is administering the Cedar Grove Road widening. A total of $3.5 million is budgeted but that is money that Shepherdsville does not see any monetary gain from.

In terms of expenditures, that will see an increase in most departments.

The administrative costs will decrease by $47,692 in the budget.

Police expenses would increase $167,377 and fire department will increase by $147,042.

Mayor Sherman Tinnell said there weren't a lot of things on the "wish" list granted. Instead, it was what the city needed.

He said the budget "finally" balanced and it was "very pleasant to see it balance."

The council must approve the budget by the end of June.

In other business:

*Pending approval of the budget, an ordinance to repeal the civil service system was tabled.

City officials plan to take out portions of the existing ordinance and then approve a new one. To be eliminated includes the provision where supervisors are protected by the ordinance.

In the new version, the mayor would have the ability to select his or her own department heads without being in violation of the civil service ordinance.

*The council approved the rezoning of 5.8 acres at the corner of Hensley Road and Highway 44 West.

Miles Homes is planning to use the property for the construction of residential dwellings.

The rezoning was from B-1 Highway Business to R-3 Residential.

Attorney John Wooldridge said a mixed use of the property is planned over the next few years. This could include patio homes, condos, apartments and homes.

The new section will not have road access into the existing Hensley Estates.

*A resident of Beechland Estates questioned when the city was going to make repairs to a section of the subdivision.

Tinnell said the city would be doing blacktopping this summer but that section has not been taken into the town's maintenance program.

Unless the developer bonds the work, Tinnell said the city couldn't take over the streets until 85 percent of the section is completed.

*Code enforcement officer Jim McAuliffe said tall grass resulting from homes being in foreclosure is a growing problem.

He estimated getting 15 calls a day on the tall grass.

"It's getting to be a really major problem," said McAuliffe.

Tinnell said the city doesn't have the manpower to cut all the yards.

If the property is rental and not one in foreclosure, McAuliffe said there should be a way to make the owner responsible for maintenance.

He said the owner is the person who should ultimately be responsible for keeping the property in good shape.

The next meeting of the Shepherdsville City Council will be on Monday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the government center on Conestoga Parkway. The public is invited. Those wishing to speak should sign up prior to the start of the meeting.