Approving the fiscal year 2023 budget and setting public comment dates for food truck operations and a new plan for a residential development passed the Spanish Fort City Council at their regular meeting Monday night, Sept. 19.
No members of the public appeared to speak on the ordinance granting a decade-long non-exclusive franchise to Comcast of Alabama, LLC for cable services, nor for the city’s upcoming budget.
Spanish Fort’s general operations budget for the upcoming year boasts revenues of more than $11.7 million. By carrying over $4.5 million from this year’s budget, Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan said the upcoming budget includes raises of 8.4 percent for city employees.
“The strength of any city is its employees, and I’m glad we’re able to take care of them,” the mayor said, attending the meeting via video conference while out of town for his regular job. He noted the raises should help employees until “Washington [straightens] out some of the inflationary numbers.”
McMillan said the city has always achieved balanced budgets and operated in a fiscally conservative manner since he joined the council in 2004. While provisions for police and fire service “eat up” much of the budget’s expenses – roughly 23 percent – the mayor said “[these] are things we need to do.”
“A lot of people put a lot of work into this budget,” McMillan said. “It’s not something that just comes together in like a week.”
The cable services ordinance will appear on the council’s Oct. 3 agenda for another vote, but the budget passed with no opposition. However, the public will also have an opportunity to comment on the city’s proposed regulations for food trucks in that meeting.
Under the proposed ordinance, food truck service can only take place between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. No one truck may operate in the same spot for more than three days straight, nor at more than two sites per day. Violating these or any other regulation laid out in the ordinance carries a fine of $250 to $500 and a possible six-month jail term.
An ordinance amending the master plan to reduce the number of lots in the proposed 153-acre Churchill II subdivision will be up for public comment on Oct. 17.
“On the west side of the property about midway they basically reduced the road and 12 lots from this development,” City Attorney David Conner said, “Otherwise, the layout remains the same.” He noted one larger lot replaces the 12 lots on the amended master plan.
Councilor J.R. Smith said developers should pay attention to the existing wetlands in the area. “If they’re going to leave it undeveloped, make sure we don’t end up with erosion going down in that area,” he cautioned.
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