|Council reviews budget|
|Written by Isaac Kreider|
A budget of $8,442,409 for 2015 was accepted by the Holyoke City Council at the Tuesday, Nov. 18, meeting.
A final reading and passage will take place at the Tuesday, Dec. 2, council meeting.
Annual appropriations were also approved. The majority of the 2015 budget will be set aside for the general fund at $4,284,620 and the utility fund at $3,540,576.
Other fund appropriations are as follows:
Swim team practice time discussed further
Holyoke High School swim team coaches Alyson Brinkema and Adria Colver were in attendance at last week’s meeting to note a confusion regarding the HHS swim team’s pool time extension.
After some discussion, the council voted to schedule a meeting between the recreation committee and all concerned parties to further discuss the matter.
At the Nov. 4 meeting, the council had reviewed the team’s request to extend its practice end time from 5:15 to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Pool manager Karla Pargas had voiced her concern that extending the swim team’s practice time to 5:30 p.m. would further interfere with lap swimming and private lessons which begin at 5 p.m. Councilmembers had voted to leave the team’s practice time as it was.
“It is critical that we have the 4-5:30 time slot for practicing,” Brinkema said. “We are a small team compared to a lot of the other teams we face. Our girls are really dedicated, but we can’t compete if we have less time to practice.”
Colver noted that the swim team has around $3,000 invested in equipment at the pool and always handles its own equipment for practices.
“We love the program, and it seems to be growing,” Colver said.
Wine tasting ordinance moving forward
A wine tasting ordinance drafted by City Attorney Al Wall was presented at the Nov. 18 meeting and was approved by the council on first reading. It amends title 5 of the Holyoke Municipal Code and authorizes retail liquor stores and liquor licensed drugstores in Holyoke to conduct tastings of malt, vinous or spirituous liquors.
The ordinance can be found in the legal section of this week’s Enterprise and is set for final reading and passage at the Dec. 2 council meeting.
Four percent electric rate increase proposed
New electric rates have been proposed for usage in 2015 and will result in an approximate increase of four percent for residential and commercial customers of the City of Holyoke.
The City Council will hold a public hearing Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers to discuss the proposed changes. All customers have the right to review the data supporting this change, and documents are available at the city municipal building.
This rate change will permit the City of Holyoke to offset rate increases for its wholesale energy and power requirement purchases and is the minimum necessary to preserve the financial integrity of the city’s electrical system.
The full proposal can be found in the legal section of this week’s Enterprise.
City Superintendent Mark Brown reported two water main breaks since the last meeting. One was at the intersection of Kunkel Street and Sherman Avenue. The other was along East Gordon Street. Both breaks were handled promptly.
He also noted that a zone pump on the boiler at the Heginbotham Library failed, leaving the upstairs area without heat. A new pump had been received Tuesday, and Brown said he planned for it to be installed within the next few days.
Police Chief Doug Bergstrom informed the council that the last of the trailer homes behind the Cedar Inn was scheduled to be removed soon to proceed with the clearing of that city block.
Bergstrom also reported that Officer Dan Coontz has been doing really well and will be moving into phase two of his training with the Holyoke Police Department. According to Bergstrom, this will involve him having more solo patrol time and responding to more calls, along with other duties, to help further progress him into the system.
In other business Nov. 18, the council:
—accepted the recommendation from the Holyoke Planning Commission to zone the First Baptist Church of Holyoke as RE — one- or two-family residence.
—approved a wage increase for lifeguard Lori McWilliams since she has earned her water safety instructor certification, and approved the hire of Josh Woodhouse as a lifeguard, starting at the same rate since he has already obtained his WSI certification.
—approved holiday bonuses for full-time employees.
—approved the provision of $175 as prize money for the annual Christmas lighting/decorating contest.
—renewed the liquor license for Kwik Stop.
Holyoke Enterprise November 27, 2014