The Greenfield City Council conducted a public hearing regarding the proposed tax levy for 2013 at its December 4 meeting.
Greenfield resident Henry Steinke addressed the council regarding tax increases on two parcels of land he owns within the city. After some discussion, and Mayor Jerry Hertaus and Councilor Tom Cook addressing the city’s portion of levied taxes and the falling value of properties, the council moved to take action regarding the 2013 levy and general fund budget.
The council unanimously approved a tax levy for 2013 in the amount of $1,376, 673. This represents an increase of $46,630, or 3%.
The council also approved a general budget for 2013 of $1,135,822. This is an increase of $21,675, or 1.9 %.
The city’s administrator, Kathryne McCullum, relayed to the council that Greenfield Planning Commissioner Chuck Tryon’s term was coming to an end, and that Tryon was interested in continuing for another. Councilor Brad Johnson made a motion to reseat Tryon.
In subsequent discussion, Councilor Cook asked the council if it thought there could be a conflict of interest as Tryon serves on the Rockford Area Schools, District 883, Board of Education.
Councilor Mike Erickson added that he had concerns along these lines, as well, and asked that the position be publicly posted, as he was aware of community members who had an interest in serving.
Asked about procedure, McCullum told the council that, in the past, a seated commissioner would be considered first for the position if so inclined, but that it was up to council discretion.
Mayor Jerry Hertaus told the council that he did not feel that there was a conflict of interest with Tryon’s service on the commission and school board.
Councilor Erickson expressed concern that a conflict may have already transpired, going back approximately a year to when a grant for a ball field in the new Greenfield park was in play as well as the possibility of a school district referendum.
The council voted to put the decision before the city’s planning commission.
Jack Dukes, who chairs the commission, told the council that he thought Tryon did a good job of separating his roles as school board member and city planning commissioner.
Johnson’s motion was rescinded — although did he did make mention that Tryon had served on the commission long enough to bring continuity and valuable history to the table, something that could benefit the city — and the council took action to table an appointment, directing staff to transcribe the audio tape of a verbal exchange between council and Tryon.
Mark Holton, who will take a seat on the council on Jan. 7, is also on the planning commission, creating another vacancy.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Greenfield City Council is Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. at the city’s meeting hall, 6390 Town Hall Dr.
An “Oath of Office” ceremony and open house will be hosted by the city on Monday, Jan. 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall address.