By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — Following the lack of action taken on Falls Landing Park, the Jeffersonville City Council agreed to move forward on a separate group of projects touted by Mayor Mike Moore’s administration.
Councilman Nathan Samuel requested the council pass several resolutions to allow Tax Increment Finance funds to be used for several projects identified by the city’s Redevelopment Commission.
“The perception is we don’t support any of the mayor’s projects, or we base our decisions on that,” Samuel said. “That’s not true. I base my decisions on dollars we have to spend.”
He pointed to a list of 25 potential projects that could be paid for through TIF funding and asked the council to move forward on five projects. The projects were the Big Four Bridge ramp; Big Four Station, which is a park at the base of the ramp; changes to a floodwall gate to make way for the Big Four Bridge ramp; Chestnut Street reconstruction; and the Thompson Lane project.
The five projects were amended to be included in the both the Falls Landing TIF and Inner City Roads TIF.
“I want to make sure that we ... don’t let the mayor say, ‘the council approves nothing I [want to] do,’ because there are some [projects] we want to do,” Samuel said. “These we know have to be done and we’re all supportive of.”
All those projects are under way in various stages.
Moore, when contacted Tuesday, said he was “extremely disappointed” in the council’s decision to not act on the Falls Landing Park plan at Monday’s council meeting.
“This was the fix,” he said referring to drainage problems in the area. “This is what the engineers came up with. I don’t know what the city council thinks can be done.”
Moore left Monday’s meeting before the resolutions were offered for the series of projects on which Samuel suggested the council move forward. When asked Tuesday about the plan he said, “I would urge the city council to accept all of those projects.”
“The projects that I have put forth ... we’ve got the means to pay for all of those with cash,” Moore said. But he added, “They’re not going to vote for anything that makes me look good.”
Samuel said not all the projects Moore has offered are supported by the majority of the council.
“Initially, they were wanting us to approve the whole list of ,” he said. “We weren’t going to do that and I saw a lot of dissension in the ranks here. We’ve got to at least approve some; let’s move forward in a positive way.”
He said the projects that were offered were ones for which there was a consensus among the council members.
“I think we have consensus on more, but we still have to talk about them,” Samuel added.
The city council also approved two ordinances, one for an additional appropriation and a second for a revised salary ordinance.
The additional appropriation ordinance — 2013-OR-3 — totaled $245,500 and addressed changes for several city employees. Among the changes were the shifts of two clerk positions, a move to add a water resource coordinator to the city, the addition of a kennel attendant to the animal shelter and the purchase of two fire department staff vehicles out of the Local Option Income Tax Fund.
The ordinance was approved 5-1, with Samuel voting against on its second and third and final reading.
Also, a reduction ordinance that cut the same amount was approved on its first reading to pay for the added positions and equipment. A revised salary ordinance — 2013-OR-5 — was unanimously approved on its second and third and final readings.
Changes to the salary ordinance incorporated the aforementioned changes to employee positions in the city as well as a change to the city’s legal department. The council agreed to a change suggested to replace the city attorney with a paralegal at a lower cost, funding 25 percent of the position through the city’s redevelopment commission.
The redevelopment commission would still have to approve covering its portion of the costs. As a result of the move, City Attorney Les Merkley’s title would change from city attorney to corporation attorney.