City Council agrees to joint meeting with county board

Jan. 10, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

The Sanford City Council has agreed to a request by the Lee County Board of Commissioners to a joint meeting to discuss a possible change in the sales tax distribution and several interlocal agreements.

During the Sanford City Council Law and Finance Committee meeting Wednesday, council members requested City Manager Hal Hegwer to negotiate a day for the joint meeting to be scheduled sometime during the first week of February.

"I would certainly like a place where the public can have full access and, if possible, television access," said Sanford City Councilman Samuel Gaskins. "When we are having this discussion, everyone should be informed."

At the Lee County Board of Commissioners' meeting Monday, Broadway town officials requested a meeting between the two boards to discuss the possibility of the county changing the sales tax distribution. The county agreed to a meeting with Broadway and, also, requested a meeting with Sanford.

City Council members also discussed the county's request to end several interlocal agreements, including the joint planning department, tax collections department and GIS.

According to city documents, the costs for Sanford to collect ad valorem taxes is $71,000 to start and $200,000 in yearly recurring expenses.    

Hegwer said if the city wished to pursue its own tax collection, it would not be feasible for the upcoming fiscal year, and the county would need be flexible for the upcoming year as it transitioned. He said he hoped the city would be the same way if the county chose to follow through with its own planning department.

Council members agreed to continue the discussion during their upcoming meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall located at 225 E. Weatherspoon St.

In other matters, Council considered:

* Changes to the sewer use ordinance. Sanford Public Works City Engineer Paul Weeks said the revisions are mostly housekeeping items, like changing definitions to comply with recently updated national and state regulations.

* Transferring $2,124 in appropriations for the Wagon Trail Road Waterline Extension project. The funds would be repaid to the city by the Wagon Trail Road residents who hook up to the waterline.

* A resolution to support and authorize the city's application for a state Parks and Recreation Trust Funds grant for an extension of the greenway. Sanford-Lee County Planning Director Bob Bridwell said the proposed 2.5-mile extension would connect the southern trail in Kiwanis Park to Central Carolina Hospital to expand on the success of the park and act as a therapeutic trail for hospital patients. The grant would require a 50 percent local match.

* Renewing or changing banking services. The city sent out requests for bids to all local bank branches, with four banks responding. First Citizens Bank has the lowest bid and is the recommended choice because of a lower price. First Citizens can offer a majority of the services requested, said Sanford Finance Director Melissa Cardinali.