By KEVIN BOWDEN
Samburg city officials took a major step forward this week on plans to build a new City Hall.
Financing for the new building will come from the sale of two city properties located along Lakeview Drive.
City officials met twice this week as they worked on a new slum ordinance, tourism and city financial issues. All that has been taking place amid complaints from some Samburg residents about the way the city is being run.
The Samburg mayor and board of aldermen met Monday night for a little over an hour and met again Wednesday afternoon for about 10 minutes to discuss the town’s property tax rate. The board appears ready to lower the town’s tax rate from $1.10 to 75 cents, as recommended by the board’s budget committee chairman, Juni Fickle.
However, the board cannot legally lower the property tax rate until after its 2011-12 budget is approved.
The board initially voted to lower the property tax rate Monday night, but at Wednesday afternoon’s meeting voted to keep the property tax rate at $1.10.
Reducing the property tax rate from $1.10 to 75 cents would eliminate an estimated $8,500 from the city’s budget.
It was at Monday night’s meeting that the board did approve the sale of what was referred to as the “tractor shed” lot on Lakeview Drive. The property was sold to Bobby and Jock Johnson for $67,500.
The two businessmen also bought the 50-foot-by-100-foot lot behind that lot for $10,000.
With the combined $77,500 from the sale of the city property, the board is moving forward with the $75,423 City Hall project.
Only board member Gerald Reed voted against the sale of the two city-owned lots.
The proceeds from the sale of the lots will help finance the actual construction of a new City Hall building, which is estimated to cost $42,323, based on figures provided by board member Eddie Fickle.
He has been working for the past few weeks on a plan to build and finance a new City Hall building.
It was announced Monday night that the board would look into different options to finance a new heating and air conditioning system for the building.
The proposed 40-foot by 70-foot building will reportedly be built on a half-acre lot currently owned by Martha Crocker and located on the north side of town. The board approved buying the lot from her for $11,000.
The new City Hall building will be built by Clanton Construction Co. and the electrical work will be done by Trey Bunch, at a cost of $7,500.
The building will contain three small offices, five entrances and two windows. There will also be a 56-foot-by-40-foot community room in the building.
Fickle provided board members with a three-page report outlining the cost for the new City Hall.
There was no indication as to when construction of the new City Hall would begin.
As the board moved forward with building a new City Hall, it was decided Monday night not to sell the town’s current City Hall. The board has a standing offer of $70,000 from Samburg resident David Laut to buy the building.
“I just don’t think we need to sell this property at this point in time,” board member Woody Cook said Monday night.
Others on the board agreed and a 6-0 vote by the board rejected Laut’s offer for the building.
The new slum ordinance, which was actually introduced last week by board member Johnnie Johnson, was approved on the first of two required readings. The board voted 5-1 for the ordinance Monday, with Cook voting against the new ordinance.
A public hearing will still have to be held and the board will have to vote a second and final time to officially adopt the ordinance.
The board voted unanimously Monday night to spend $2,120 for a new tourism brochure promoting Samburg. There will be 10,000 of the brochures produced. Funding for the brochures will come from the hotel/motel tax and advertising in the brochure. The tourism brochure represents one of three tourism initiatives being pushed by Eddie Fickle. He has also launched a new Samburg tourism website and a billboard in southeast Missouri.
In contrast to all the positive news in Samburg, there is some controversy swirling about town.
It was during Monday night’s discussion of the property tax rate that things became heated. Mayor Larry Gene Davis defended the board’s handling of city finances and told those in the audience that the city’s money is not being wasted.
Near the end of Monday night’s meeting, Samburg resident Robert Hoffman blasted the board, saying the town has been operating in the red for the past three years and he believed that was enough to petition to have the town’s charter dissolved.
He was upset over the town’s financial status and said he was working on a petition to dissolve city government and planned to meet with Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire to discuss his concerns.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 8.5.11