The Corcoran City Council, Thursday, June 27, looked over the first draft of the city’s 2020 budget, which includes potential additions to city staff. Among them are a new part-time community service office for the police department and a full-time city planner.

At the meeting, the council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

2020 BUDGET

City Administrator Brad Martens asked for council feedback on the first draft of Corcoran’s 2020 budget. He planned to bring back to the July 11 council meeting info on the financial impact of the next draft of the budget.

Martens said city staff is drafting the budget in order to meet a City Council goal — to continue reduction of Corcoran’s overall tax rate. The value of new construction in Corcoran last year was over $32 million, thus increasing the city’s tax base and spreading cost of city operations across a larger number of property tax payers.

City Councilor Alan Schultz asked for more information about the proposal for having a city planner on staff. Currently, Kendra Lindahl, of Landform, is serving as city planner as an independent contractor. Schultz wanted to know how much a planner on staff would cost the city in salary and benefits compared to ramping up the contract for an independent contractor.

Martens said a city planner on staff would take over general planning duties and reduce billable hours of the contract planner. A planner on staff would be available to the city and public full-time, compared with the part-time presence of the independent contractor. The staff city planner would start work on April 1, 2020, when remodeling of City Hall is expected to be completed. Before then, no work space is available for a new planner.

Another proposed staff addition is a community service officer working 20 hours per week for the Corcoran Police Department. Public Safety Director Matt Gottschalk explained that the CSO would be non-licensed and would take over some of the day to day, lower priority items currently handled by licensed police officers. Licensed officers then could focus on higher impact duties. A CSO could respond to non-emergency calls, such as animal complaints, people locked out of cars and homes and assisting with direction of traffic.

City Councilor Mike Keefe asked whether Corcoran’s population is growing so fast that the city has to add an officer every year.

Gottschalk answered that Corcoran has nine or 10 licensed police officers compared with the 14 officers employed by the average community of Corcoran’s size. A new CSO would release Corcoran’s licensed officers for higher impact duties.

The first draft of the 2020 budget also includes increased part-time hours for the part-time police technician and transitioning the recreation coordinator from 28 hours per week to full time. The budget also anticipates a 10 percent increase in fire protection costs and significant increases in costs for handling elections in 2020.

Important budget dates include City Council adoption of the preliminary city property tax levy on Sept. 12 and a Dec. 12 truth in taxation public hearing, along with consideration of approval of the 2020 city budget and property tax levy.

BASS LAKE CROSSING SOUTH

Turning to planning business, the City Council approved an amendment to the phasing plan for Corcoran Self Storage, the industrial portion of Bass Lake Crossing South, a development that also contains residences. The development is being constructed at 19219 and 19235 County Road 10 across from Corcoran Lions Park.

Construction of Bass Lake Crossing South originally was planned to take place in three phases, said Corcoran Planning Consultant Lindahl. Residences would be built in the first phase over a period of two to four years. Developer E & R Investments planned to delay construction of the self-storage portion of the site to 2022. The self-storage area would contain a two-story, climate controlled building and in-line storage units.

Greg Hayes, of Ebert Construction, said the developer now is proposing construction of the two-story building in phase two, roughly three to four years earlier than originally anticipated. Construction of the overall development would take place in four phases instead of three. Part of the two-story building would contain temporary office space. Architectural features of the building would be nicer than originally proposed.

Hayes said earlier construction of the two-story building would buffer homes in Bass Lake Crossing South from Corcoran Lions Park. Also, demand in the market for self-storage is increasing, and the developer wants to respond to the demand.

OTHER

The City Council also:

APPROVED changes to Corcoran’s Development Rights Program and Open Space and Preservation Ordinance. Mayor Ron Thomas said council action followed two to three years of work on the documents.

APPROVED a request from developer Lennar to install and name a park bench in the Larson Scenic Overlook. The bench and overlook will be between two wetlands in the Ravinia residential subdivision.

APPROVED a request from Kevin and Denise Tabor to initiate expiration of 42 acres of their land from designation as Agricultural Preserve. Expiration will happen in eight years.

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