Members of the Emerson City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to approve the municipality’s 2021 fiscal year property tax rate.
“Our recommendation was what our budget was based off of for FY '21, which is a millage rate of 1.832,” said Emerson City Manager Kevin McBurnett. “That does not change from what last year’s millage rate is, however, it does constitute a tax increase due to reevaluation from the property.”
The City held three public hearings regarding the FY '21 millage rate. McBurnett indicated that zero Emerson residents attended any of them.
The council also voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of about 7.5 acres off Joe Frank Harris Parkway from residential to commercial use.
The property along Franklin Loop is currently owned by Emerson Baptist Church. The applicant intends to sell the property to All South Electrical Constructors, Inc., who wishes to relocate their business currently located at 140 Kelli Clark Court.
Council members also unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the property, allowing the operation of a construction contractor’s office on the parcel.
The council also heard a first reading of — but took no action on — a request for a conditional use permit that would allow a day care center to operate within the Excel Christian Academy facility.
No representatives from Excel were in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
A resolution authorizing end-of-year budget amendments for the previous fiscal year also received unanimous approval from council members.
“This is just cleaning it up, preparing it for our auditors,” McBurnett said.
A resolution allowing the City to procure funding under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was also approved unanimously.
“There was funding that was sent down to the states and that funding has been allocated to the local jurisdictions,” McBurnett said.
Ultimately, he said the City of Emerson has been approved for roughly $86,000 in CARES Act aid, which will be distributed through three allocation phases.
“We’ve already received the first one, which I believe off the top of my head was $25,000,” he said. “This resolution authorizes us to be able to accept that money and be able to move forward with it — this money will be for us to handle those expenses that were not budgeted that were directly related to the COVID crisis.”
Council members also voted to approve the acceptance of a quit claim deed from Bartow County for the LakePoint Parkway northern campus.
“The roadway has been completed, it’s time to turn it over to the City of Emerson,” McBurnett said.
Councilman Charles Lowry represented the lone “nay” vote against the item.
The public meeting began with Emerson Mayor Al Pallone presenting certificates of achievement to four individuals — Mia Strickland Burse, Dwight Darby, Jacob Linley and Rebecca Young — for their part in responding to an emergency situation on June 20.
“Two young females were injured during an accident on Ninth Street and Westbrook Avenue, and you assisted the injured until emergency services arrived,” Pallone said. “The community recognizes your act of bravery and appreciates your efforts to aid these young ladies — we are proud to honor you for your dedication to this community and we are tremendously grateful.”
The meeting concluded with McBurnett being the bearer of bad news regarding the City’s annual Christmas programming.
“Preparations for that program start around this time, so we’re usually moving forward and trying to get prepared for it,” he told council members. “This year, we don’t see any way we can have that same service.”
Pallone said he agreed with McBurnett’s assessment.
“We can’t cram this place full anymore,” he said of the Emerson City Hall facility.
Still, McBurnett said that doesn’t mean the City can’t host or organize some sort of yuletide festivities in 2020.
“There’s been some talk of some kind of very small parade in town, but I don’t know if you can do much there,” he said. “Maybe there’s something with citizens doing a yard-decorating contest and City officials judging … at our next meeting, we really need to come together and talk about trying to get something solidified, if we’re going to move forward this year.”