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Akron budget legislation before City Council

3/13/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Council approves White Pond rezoning for office park addition

Akron City Council members received legislation pertaining to the 2014 operating budget March 10.

The budget for this year comes in at just more than $500.35 million — and it has its ups and downs, as described by Finance Director Diane Miller-Dawson during the Budget and Finance Committee meeting.

Income tax revenue is expected to be up 2.5 percent this year; however, local government funding has decreased significantly, from $14 million in 2007 to $6.1 million. That funding from the state, Miller-Dawson said, is used solely for public safety expenditures. In addition, there was a reduction caused by the elimination of state tax revenue, and the casino revenue that was expected to fill that gap has not done so, Miller-Dawson said.

“Across the country, casino revenue has been down,” said Councilman Michael Williams (D-at large). “It is never going to be the big economy generator that was talked about.”

Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9) said the committee will ask Council to approve the budget at the March 17 meeting.

In other business, Council, after a public hearing, approved the rezoning of a parcel on White Pond Drive to permit the construction of an office building. Developer Paul Testa said at the Planning Committee meeting the new medical office building at 690 White Pond Drive will be an addition to the Park West campus.

Also at the meeting, Council:

  • authorized improvements to Kingswood Drive between Merriman Road and Rocky Hollow Drive and Rocky Hollow Drive between Kingswood Drive and Rocky Ridge Drive. Property owners will be assessed a portion of the cost of the project;
  • approved the renewal of several parcels of property as an agricultural use, including 1543 Collier Road, 495 Hickory St., 1605 Dreisbach Drive, 1080 St. Michaels Ave. and 1831 Vernon Odom Blvd.; and
  • filed an ordinance establishing an agreement with the Cascade Locks Park Association to construct a zipline along the Ohio & Erie Canal. Planning Committee Chairman Jeff Fusco (D-at large) said the petitioner has not updated the city on the proposed project. He added the legislation, which was first brought before Council in June 2013, could be reintroduced in two years.

The next Akron City Council meeting will take place March 17 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal building, located at 166 S. High St. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon.

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