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  • Davenport Set Budget

    Davenport mill rate to increase 50 cents for 2004
    By STEVEN N. LEVINE
    [email protected]



    DAVENPORT -- The Davenport City Council on Monday gave initial approval for a 50-cent per $1,000 jump in city millage next year while adding three dozen new residents and one former councilwoman.

    Property taxes are 6.5 mills under the total $3.46 million spending plan adopted 3-1 at its first reading Monday. The final public hearing and adoption is 7 p.m. Sept. 22.

    A half-dozen speakers addressed the $1.3 million fiscal 2004 general fund budget at its first public hearing. All were mainly critical of emptying the pool next year to balance the budget.

    Besides cutting out summer swimming at a $138,000 savings, the council removed a vacant police officer position and dropped a $10,000 payment to the fire department equipment reserve fund. That combination averted a 7.75 millage that would have boosted taxes $87.50 on a $75,000 residence after exemption.

    Mayor Kim Miller said he regretted taking kids out of the pool next summer. That was the only way to save taxpayers from a 1.75 millage increase, he said. The current millage is $6.

    "My kids swim in that pool. That's why we don't have a pool," Miller said.

    Councilman Lewis Mathews saw cutting a $38,000 a year fire administrator from the budget as a route not taken. Mathews voted against the budget strictly because the position, which city volunteer firefighters oppose, remains funded.

    East Davenport residents will see a new $6.25 a month stormwater-streetsweeping fee to help finance drainage improvements and system maintenance. The new culverts, drains and swales only affect residents east of U.S. Highway 17/92. Council rejected a fire fee proposed to make up for $114,000 in lost fire revenues from Polk County.

    Council also annexed roughly 280 acres -- largely citrus groves -- largely surrounding a new Polk County high school near Orchid Drive and South Boulevard. Another 40-50 acres was given an initial nod by the council encompassing about 35 residents along 10th Street, said Jim Drumm, city annexation and development consultant.

    Part of the annexation includes 30 acres that Interim City Manager Gene Kniffin believes will make a good site for a city wastewater plant and water well. Robert Lahmont is offering the property west of the Center Crest development for $14,980 an acre. Lahmont is willing to accept $449,400 for the land, but acting City Attorney Kirk Warren recommended Davenport acquire its own appraisal for the acreage.

    Real estate broker Ray G. Edenfield, who stands to make a 7 percent commission on the city purchase, said he could not guarantee that Lahmont will accept the delay.

    Meanwhile, former Councilwoman Irene Lemke rejoins the body roughly a year after being unseated by Brian Carter. Carter resigned due to a move last month. Lemke, who was among three former council members considered, late Monday said she was happy to return to her old seat.

    "We started a number of things years ago and they are only now just coming to fruition," she said.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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