Here's what's on the agenda for this Monday's meeting of the Bennington City Council:
Budget hearings: We'll hold public hearings for the 2019-2020 city budget and property tax rate. As proposed now, the budget will hold the property tax rate the same. Because of increased property values and an even larger growth in sales tax revenue, the proposed budget will support expanded library hours, the start of the 156th Street project, and the hiring of our new police chief and eventually a sergeant, among other priorities.
Streets plan: We'll take a fresh look at the one-year and longer-term plans for street repairs and improvements, including the 156th Street project and resurfacing of Bennington Road.
Mayor's authority and police officers: We'll consider advancing this proposed ordinance regarding the process for suspending or removing police officers. The Council voted unanimously to advance this measure at our previous meeting. (For the uninitiated, many important ordinances need to be voted on two or three times before becoming part of the city code.) A revision to this process is required in order to make our code comply with state law. I worked with Council Member Zac Johns to draft language that we think is fair to police officers, mirrors state law and other cities of our size, and shares responsibility for final decisions among the mayor and Council members.
Ward boundaries: We'll consider adjustments to the boundaries of Bennington's election wards. (I and Jodi Stier represent Ward 1, roughly the northern half of the city. If you're receiving this e-mail, you probably live in Ward 1.) We'll also look to update the city's official boundaries. These changes will incorporate the new Prairie Hollow subdivision.
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the city offices at 156th and Warehouse streets. The full agenda is posted here. If you have any questions about the topics above, please let me know. I won't always know the answer, but I will find one for you.