Annual city budget nearly triples

Among a myriad of other agenda items, September 5 the Baker City Council paused at 6:30 p.m. to open the floor for public comment before adopting the Municipal Operating Budget.

By Lisa Kilsdonk

Posted Sept. 14, 2012

Among a myriad of other agenda items, September 5 the Baker City Council paused at 6:30 p.m. to open the floor for public comment before adopting the Municipal Operating Budget. Coming in at around $8 million, compared to approximately $3 million last year, the additional funds are being provided from a variety of sources, including TransCanada who will be underwriting three water projects that will serve the man camp to be erected west of Baker. Another source of additional funds includes a one-time transfer of county funds to the city to help with some much needed infrastructure maintenance and upgrade to water and sewer lines in and around Baker.

The Council also heard requests from Amber Lawlar and Jerry Schell to connect to the city water system via forced private lines due to high water table levels causing septic system failures at their residential properties. Both parties expressed willingness to pay for the installations via their semi-annual taxes.

With the possibility of new subdivisions in the adjacent area requiring sewer hook-ups as well, the Council encouraged Lawlar and Schell to start the process of requesting annexation with the desired outcome being that their properties could be included in a sewer expansion at a significantly lower cost.

Kelly Gillan, owner of Jackson Village, also attended the meeting to encourage the zoning approval of ten cabins to be placed on the empty lot between Lawler’s and Spirits Plus. Mayor Hornung expressed concerns about parking availability in light of the alley receiving multiple deliveries during the week days. Gillan stated he didn’t think parking would be a concern. Hornung, along with other Council members, also questioned whether modular cabins were compatible use for the downtown commercial district. Gillan stated the units would be available for rental by the night, week, or month and would be set back from the sidewalk and have some grass.

The Council went on to approve all other zoning permits with the exception of Gillan’s, which will be considered at the Sept. 19 meeting.

Mayor Hornung reported that two interviews had been conducted for the position of chief of police, and that the hiring committee was awaiting testing results before making a recommendation.

Agendas and minutes of all City Council meetings are available at City Hall upon request. The public is welcome to attend and participate in the City Council meetings. The next meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Fallon County Courtroom Wednesday, September 19.