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Members of the Athens City Council discuss an ordinance during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. (FILE)

City Council: Members discuss vending and 2019 budget

Members discussed an ordinance regarding the future of vending at Monday night’s meeting that would bring about multiple changes for vendors in Athens. 

Vendors could pay monthly fees instead of a yearly fee, which would give them greater control over which months they decide to sell their goods. 

Councilman Patrick McGee said he realizes how difficult it is to make a living as a vendor in Athens, and would also like to explore opening up new locations for vendors to station their trucks. 

Brandon Buckley, owner of A-Town Pies and Fries food truck, said it’s difficult for him to have his truck stationed uptown on a regular basis. Buckley would support the idea of new zoning for vendors.

The proposal of minimizing food truck distance from non-vending vehicles has not been finalized.

Members also discussed an ordinance that would establish set salaries for certain elected officials. The salary mandates would go into effect beginning in 2019. Salaries for the Athens mayor, auditor, city council, president of council, director of law and treasurer would all be affected. Those salaries would be set to increase at a rate of 2 percent each year from 2019 to 2024.

The city budget is projected to be around $15.5 million, and about 80 percent of the budget will be put toward salary fringe. State and federal grants that make up part of the budget will be put toward roadwork.

McGee said the city council does hard work and deserves a 2 percent increase. He will not be seeking re-election in 2019.

Patterson said that Athens is trying to be as financially conservative as possible. City council President Chris Knisely said that there is not a lot of leeway in the budget and that there are no notable changes in the 2019 budget.

A city ordinance would increase sewer rates, and another ordinance would allocate sewer service charges to the sewer debt fund.

Council members also discussed how the sewage fund needs adjustments. At present, the fund has $9,000 unappropriated funds to spend. Sewage concerns also sparked conversation on recycling and water sustainability. 

Knisely said that the council can come back and revisit the 2019 sewage rates.


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