WOODSTOCK — The mayor and Woodstock City Council approved the budget for fiscal 2014 at Monday night’s special called meeting and work session.
The council also heard an appeal about a billboard that had previously been denied .
The council approved a budget just under $33.8 million for 2014, slightly higher than the 2013 amended budget of $33.63 million. Taxes are not expected to go up for city taxpayers.
According to the budget, the millage rate will remain the same as last fiscal year at 7.889 and the extra funds available for the upcoming year are partly a result of a rise on the property tax digest, a projected increase in revenue from motor vehicle taxes and a projected rise in building and inspection fee revenue.
Taxes represent 45 percent of the general fund revenue.
The general fund is projected to be 50 percent of the budget at $16.9 million, the water and sewer fund will be 31 percent at $10.5 million and the special revenue and service funds will be 19 percent at $6.4 million.
In May, David Tinsley and Bob Postiglione applied for a sign permit to put a billboard on property located on Rope Mill Road and were denied based on zoning issues.
Tinsley and Postiglione appealed the denial, and Adam Webb represented Tinsley at the meeting Monday.
The council granted a time of three weeks for Webb to provide supplemental material and documents regarding questions and concerns of the council, and voted to table the appeal until then.
The council heard and approved multiple rezoning requests. They approved a request for the rezoning of just more than 2.5 acres on Dupree Road to be used for about 11 single-family residential homes.
The owner of the property, Jason Scheidt of One Square Developments LLC from Alpharetta, said at the meeting that the company plans to follow downtown development ordinances.
Scheidt said he will design the development around the “very old and majestic” trees already on the property, and plans to live in the neighborhood after it’s built.
The council approved rezoning more than 10 acres on the corner of Highway 92 and Neese Road back to general commercial after the owners failed to provide development plans after multiple extensions from the council since they bought the property in 2007 and had it zoned for senior living development.
A resident of the adjoining neighborhood, Sarah Robinson, spoke to the council about the property’s condition, calling it a mess, during the public hearing portion of the meeting about this agenda item.
“There’s currently three abandoned homes on this property, they have broken windows, doors are open, the yards have not been mowed since the people took over this property, it’s a breeding ground for coyotes, rats and snakes, that’s made its way down into our neighborhood,” Robinson said. “One of the houses has a well that’s approximately 50 feet deep, it doesn’t have any water in it but it doesn’t even have a cap on it. The weeds are totally out of control, I mean the property is a mess.”
Robinson said the earth dam that is on the property burst and has not been fixed. She said her yard is flooded when it rains and asked if the city could do something about the property, regardless of the zoning decision by the council.
Mayor Donnie Henriques said the council could exercise its rights and get code enforcement involved to take care of the problem. Henriques said City Manager Jeffery Moon made a note during the meeting to look into the issue.
Council discussed a request by Del Taco to reface and clean up the former Wendy’s restaurant building on Highway 92. The council had many questions and voted 6-0 to table the request until its next meeting.
Community Development Director Jessica Guinn presented an updated map for the urban redevelopment area suggested at the last meeting, after changing a few areas to resemble the mayor and council’s requested changes. The final reading and vote for the change will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
In other news
Also at the meeting, the council approved a liquor consumption license for a new restaurant on Towne Lake Parkway. A representative for Hacienda Vieja Mexican Restaurant representative said at the meeting it will be a new take on Mexican food in Woodstock and offer high-scale Tex-Mex-style cuisine.
Council also approved the sale of malt beverages at the Family Discount and Gift store on Arnold Mill Road and made an agreement with the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission to do an in-house review and approval of an erosion, sedimentation and pollution control plan.