Wear a mask.

That's the message from Commerce officials to people entering city buildings.

City Manager James Wascher told the Commerce City Council that the city has seen an increase in COVID cases among city employees. Wascher said there would not be major changes to operations or safety plans at this time, but that people entering city buildings are now required to wear a mask.

In other action at the council's Dec.21 meeting, the board approved regulations to allow the use of accessory buildings for residential purposes under certain circumstances. Property owners Helen and Gary Venable had requested a conditional use permit for special residential use of an accessory building, but had been waiting for council action on proposed regulations. After council approved the new regulations, the property will now comply to the ordinance, with exception of certain required setbacks. The council approved a variance to the side and rear setbacks for property located at 382 Elizabeth Street to allow use of an accessory building as a residence.

The council also:

• heard that the city received “a clean opinion” on city financial statements for the 2020 fiscal year. Amanda Wilkinson, with Bates Carter and Company, presented a brief summary of the 2020 audit report.

Overall revenues in the general fund increased by $590,000 from fiscal year 2019. The increase was due in part to an increase in property taxes of $129,000 and an increase in Local Option Sales Tax of $144,000. Licenses and permits increased by $562,000 during 2020, most of which was related to activity at the SK Battery facility. Grant funds decreased by $209,000 and transfers from utility funds decreased by $172,000. Revenues were under budget $324,000, mostly due to transfers that were not needed from other funds as originally anticipated.

Expenditures increased by $600,000 compared to expenses in 2019. Housing and development expenses increased by $300,000, mainly due to expenses related to permitting for the SK Battery facility. Overall, expenses in the general fund were below budget by $578,000. The city closed out the fiscal year with an increase to fund balance of $254,000.

The water and sewer fund showed an operating income totaling $65,000. The electric fund had an operating income of $33,000 and the gas fund showed an operating income of $615,000 at the end of FY2020.

OTHER ACTIONS

In other business, the council

• approved a request from Dakota Commerce for annexation of 214 acres located along Ridgeway Church Road. The developer plans to build three industrial buildings on the site. The council further approved rezoning of the property from Agriculture in the county to M-2 in the city.

• approved a bid from Griffin Brothers in the amount of $446,303 for a project at the water plant. The project includes installation of a third pump at the water plant.

• accepted a piece of property from Jackson County. The two acre parcel of land, believed to be an old road right-of-way along Hardman Orchard Road, will allow the city to annex 214 acres without creating an island.

• approved a bid from The Service Fort in the amount of $24,888 for janitorial services of five city buildings.

• approved a quote of $464,722 for purchase of a new fire engine from Ten-8 Fire Equipment.

• approved a quote from CSRA Probation Services for court probation services.

• accepted a bid from Over and Under General Contractors in the amount of $64,483 to replace 18 electric poles identified as in need of replacement during the last city pole survey.

• approved renewal of alcohol license for 24 businesses located within the city.

• changed the date of the next council meeting from January 18, to January 19, due to conflict with the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.

The council met in executive session to discuss litigation.

Locations

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