City commission approves 2015 budget, vacant building ordinance among other projects

Emporia city commissioners had a brief action session Wednesday, approving a few projects.

Commissioners approved the 2015 city budget, after a quite short public hearing. The one person who commented on the budget had compliments for the commission and city staff for their work on the budget. Mayor Jon Geitz says the lack of questions or concerns speaks to the work done by city staff in producing a budget ahead of schedule.

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2015 expenses for the city look to be over $39 million, with a majority of that -- 36 percent -- going toward personnel and manpower. Sales taxes continue to rake in the most revenue at 29 percent of total, or over $11 million of the whole $39.4 million picture. The mil levy remained flat at 41.57 mils.

Commissioners also approved a vacant building ordinance, after discussions on the topic were brought forth by Main Street Director Casey Woods in March. The idea is to help solve the problems of chronic vacancies, and Assistant City Manager Jim Witt says they've adopted a diplomatic plan.

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The commission also adopted an ordinance for the Housing Appeals Board, and approved the Americus Road/Highway 50 water line project. Middle Creek Corp. will do the job for $552,000 -- a 40 percent lower bid then the engineer's estimate.

Commissioners also approved the ERC fitness room renovations, and the ESU Apartments subdivision minor plat agreement. Steve Brosemer of Geotech gave a brief history lesson on the seven-acre triangle of land between East and Sylvan streets along 12th Avenue.

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