After initially considering a millage rate of 5.75 for the FY2021 budget, Jefferson City Council members verbally supported lowering it to the rollback rate of 5.585 during their Sept. 14 meeting.

Leaving the rate at 5.75, which the city used for last year’s budget, would constitute a property tax increase for Jefferson residents since the county tax digest increased this year.

“I personally believe, and would ask for the council’s support, that the roll back is the right position,” said councilman Jon Howell, who requested the roll back.

The council gave a consensus to move forward with the lower millage rate ahead of its Sept. 28 vote on both the budget and millage rate.

City staff had already prepared an $11.56 million budget using the rollback millage rate.

CLEAN ADUIT REPORTED

The City of Jefferson was determined to have clean audit by auditor Mauldin and Jenkins.

Christopher McKellar of Mauldin and Jenkins issued the firm’s finding at Monday’s meeting, saying that it had given an “unqualified or clean” opinion.

McKellar did make note of a “segregation-of-duties” finding. He explained that the finding is common in small-city finance departments with limited staff. McKellar said the city has made efforts to segregate duties.

“But it gets to the point where there’s only so much you can do,” he said.

The firm also found a cash reconciliation item concerning $7,300 with the city’s downtown development authority.

“This was just a cash reconciliation item that didn’t get cleared off at year-end,” McKellar told the city council. “So, nothing fraudulent there. It was just an oversight on the bank reconciliation. It was corrected in the financial statements that you all have.”

The firm also recommended that all purchase card statements with invoices attached are reviewed prior to payment.

TWO DEVELOPMENTS PROPOSED

Two developments requiring rezonings, which will be voted on Sept. 28, were introduced to the council Monday.

The first was a request from Heritage Homes for a rezoning from residential to a planned community development for a 90-unit single-family residential subdivision on 52.92 acres on Peachtree Rd.

The developer has also asked to offer a pavilion, fire pits and a walking trail as an amenity in place of a swimming pool and tennis courts.

The other request came from Sterling Residential which asks a zoning change from residential to multi-family residential for a 45-unit, 55-and-older community with attached, single-family ranch houses.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the council:

•reviewed its annual comprehensive plan update, which has been received by the state and OK’d. The council will vote on the update on Sept. 28.

•reviewed proposed budget adjustments of $500 for its downtown sign project fund to account for donations; $164,935 to move money originally slated for Gordon St. for paving on Jett Roberts Rd.; and $8,000 to repurpose funds to build a structure over the historic calaboose (the old jail).

•reviewed a variance request to reduce a 30-foot side building setback to 10 feet on 3.03 acres on Benton Rd and Old Pendergrass Rd. The applicant wants to construct an accessory building.

•reviewed a conditional use permit to allow an engineering contractor business in the downtown district on College St. and East Minden Ave.

•reviewed a rezone request from highway commercial to light industrial by Tamarack Investments to allow for an industrial facility.

•reviewed a request to terminate a conservation easement on property owned by LPF One Braselton, LLC. The easement existed when Tiger Direct occupied the building on the property. The current tenant, Amazon, needs access to the easement for parking and a driveway. Multiple members of the council expressed concerns that the parking lot and driveway might cause truck stacking on Hog Mountain Rd.

•reviewed a policy to evaluate the city manager.

•were submitted the nomination of Beth Jarrett to the historic preservation commission. She has agreed to serve another two-year term.

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