After looking at expenses during their last two budget meetings, Titusville City officials looked to revenue to form the coming year’s budget during their meeting Tuesday evening.
The City is looking to clean up language in both ordinances and in their fee schedule moving into the next year. The City is stressing that this is not a cash grab, but updating items that haven’t been changed in 20 years.
At the upcoming Tuesday City Council meeting, council will be presenting three changes to current city ordinances. The ordinances, concerned with storm sewer certificates, handicapped parking for residents and refuse, are being made to bring the City back up to speed.
City officials met with department heads throughout the past few weeks asking them where the City is currently losing money, and what policies they have in place that no longer make sense.
For example, one change being made is taking out language regarding city pool memberships. The City has not had a pool for years.
The first ordinance change proposed would allow resolutions to change the fee structure related to smoke and dye testing. Currently the City charges $50 for the test and $25 an hour.
“People don’t realize it is more than just a test,” said Finance Supervisor Heather Plowman. She said that on some properties it can tie up city workers at multiple different facilities for one test. “We are trying to recover what it is costing us,” said Plowman.
Much like how the storm sewer certificates is allowing an ordinance to change rates, the City is doing the same with the refuse ordinance. City residents should not worry about being gouged by a change, as council is currently planning on raising the rate by 11 cents from $18.31 to $18.42.
The reason for this change is that the current refuse contract, which is for three years, includes a small rate hike by Raccoon Refuse.
A more significant change could come to city businesses. There are currently 460 businesses in the City that manage their recycling, leaf pickups and electronic waste outside of Raccoon Refuse.
Even though they do not pay for the service, they are still allowed to use the City’s services. To account for this, council is looking to add a $3 per month environmental fee so that businesses pay for services that they can, or are already using.
The last proposed ordinance change would be for resident handicapped parking. In the past the City charged residents for the cost of materials. The City is removing all fees regarding resident handicapped parking for residents.
Besides ordinance changes, the City also talked about updating language in regards to their fee schedule. The city fee schedule has not changed in years, and much of the language is out of date. The City is still discussing the fee schedule changes, but say it will not impact their bottom line.
“In 20 years the rates haven’t changed, but the cost to carry the job out has,” said Plowman.
Of the proposed changes, the City does not feel that many will impact residents. Some of the fees that are used more frequently that could see a change, according to Plowman, is a rise in the cost of building permits from $60 to $70 and an increase in health licenses from $25 to $35.
Other changes that residents will not see, are changes to things like sign permits and street openings, that are either barely used, or used primarily by companies.
In other business, officials went over grants that the City hopes to apply for. The City recently signed an agreement with the Oil Region Alliance (ORA) for that organization to take over the grant writing process.
While many of the applications are still up in the air, the City has identified two grants that they are very promising. There is a $152,000 FC EMS grant that could pay for new air packs for the fire department, and a potentially $500,000 multimodal grant that could help pay for a replacement for the South Perry Street Bridge.
The City will continue to monitor the progress of these grants, but said that working with the ORA has been a big help trying to capture grant dollars.
City Manager Neil Fratus said that the ORA has had “good communication with the City.”
Dvorkin can be reached by email at Gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.