Approved school funding plan differs from proposed

Oneonta City Council members approved a school funding resolution granting its school system a continuing line-item appropriation. The approved version amount varies significantly from the approximately $430,000 amount discussed in the joint council-board pubic session held July 12.

The funding resolution sets the city’s payment at 4 percent of city sales tax revenues (approximately $170,000 for fiscal 2016, according to system Superintendent Dr. Michael Douglas), continues the previously determined one-fourth of beer excise taxes received (around $26,000 in its last payment) and the city’s three-fourths share for the schools’ resource officer (a bit over $48,000 in fiscal 2016). According to Douglas’s figures, those funds would currently total around $245,000.

The resolution’s wording reads: “in addition to all other current payments being made.” Douglas confirms that does not include the fiscal 2016 ($185,512.31) nor fiscal 2017 ($142,964.17) bond payments and interest. The final bond payment ends in March of 2017. Douglas, Councilman Danny Robinson, and Wallace State–Oneonta campus director Kelley Jones comprised the three-person committee which drafted the agreement. Elections

Councilors certified the election of unopposed members Mayor Ross Norris and Councilman Hal Blackwood and school board members Ricky Hicks and Don Maples. In Place 5, Robinson faces opposition from Mike Jackson, Place 3 Councilman Mark Gargus faces Nate Butler, Place 2 Councilor Tonya Rogers has drawn opposition from Rob Rice, while Daniel Clem and Richard Phillips contend for the Place 1 slot formerly held by Tim McNair. The Place 3 Board of Education race pits Tracey Shea and Russell Smith in the Aug. 23 elections.

In the regular council commentary portion, Rogers reminded would-be voters that Aug. 18 is the last day to pick up absentee ballots and Aug. 9 is the last day to register to vote for the election. Ballot pick-up is at city hall; registration may be done online or through the board of registrars at the Blount County courthouse. Other business

Attempting to correct an error discovered earlier, the council authorized Norris to enter discussion with owners of the former McCurry Furniture Building to purchase the sidewalk adjacent their building along Second Street. City attorney Alex Smith noted that city utility services and storm drains run under the sidewalk. Smith confirmed that the same is true with the sidewalk on the portion adjacent to Weathers Ace Hardware. Councilors agreed to delay negotiation on the Weathers site till later.

In his commentary, Robinson asked for an update on the city’s recycling program. The city recently removed the recycling bin from the city library parking lot.

Other members revealed some of the problems with the site, explaining that people were leaving household furniture and garbage there. They said that the waste disposal contractor had asked the city to permit them to remove the bins.

Smith explained the city contract requires recycling provisions from the provider and that the county depends on Oneonta’s recycling program to meet its federal requirements. Oneonta has mandatory garbage pick-up. He promised that the interruption is only temporary, until a better process can be implemented.

Formalizing matters discussed in a pre-session public hearing, the council approved the request from builder John Payne to accept his proposed subdivision off Hudson Ave. The city planning commission had unanimously endorsed the proposal. The proposed Hudson Place plat calls for potentially 22 lots on the 6.6 acre site. The site holds R1-G zoning for garden homes. Wallace State

Blackwood confirmed with public utilities supervisor Roland McCoy that the Wallace State CDL (Commercial Drivers License) site would soon be completed. Norris shared communication from the college that it has 341 registrations from 172 students already completed for its fall term.

At the July 12 council session, city manager-development officer Ed Lowe had announced receipt of two proposals for loans to build a new Wallace campus. He had asked to delay any consideration until the next meeting. In his absence, the council agenda did not list that item.

Marlene Stroud, beautification board chair, announced the board’s latest award winners. Don and Lisa Maples took the residential honor, while The Corner Pocket won the commercial award.

All members attended the July 26 session. The council meets regularly the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.