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Cycle track, ‘mobile food facilities’ and taxes crowd busy Decatur City Commission agenda

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Cycle track, ‘mobile food facilities’ and taxes crowd busy Decatur City Commission agenda

Decatur City Hall.

Decatur City Hall.

The Decatur City Commission has a robust to-do list for its May 15 meeting.

Commissioners will vote on items related to property taxes, a cycle track on Church Street, a redesign of West Howard Avenue and “mobile food facilities.”

To see the full agenda, with attachments, click here. The meeting begins with a work session at 7 p.m. and the regular meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. It will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.

According to the agenda …

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– Commissioners will consider an agreement with the Transportation Department to buy right of way to build the Clairemont-Commerce-Church street safety improvements and cycle track, a protected bike lane. There will be 71 properties involved in the project.

“All segments are temporary easements to allow construction or driveway easements that allow the improvements to transition with existing driveways,” the memo from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon says. “The agreement allows the City to begin the acquisition process. Once the easements are acquired, we will be able to begin the construction phase of the project. We expect right-of-way acquisition to take about 12 months.”

It’s expected to cost between $400,000 and $500,000. The total project budget is $4.4 million and includes $990,000 from local funds, $400,000 from MARTA and $3 million from the state.

“This project includes i1nprovements to increase pedestrian safety at the intersections of Commerce Drive with Clairemont A venue and Church Street and dedicated cycle tracks and new sidewalks on both sides of Church Street between Commerce Drive and the city limits just north of Forkner Drive,” the memo says.

– Commissioners will consider a $58,210 agreement with ALTA Planning + Design “to produce design documents for use in constructing roadway improvements on West Howard Avenue from Paden Circle to North McDonough Street to address resident concerns for improved pedestrian and bicyclist safety along the corridor.”

“The Reimagine West Howard Avenue project will solicit input from the community with the goal to promote more access, and slower vehicular speeds, and increase walking and bicycling,” the memo from Assistant City manager David Junger says.

– Commissioners will consider adopting a tentative 2017 millage rate of 13.77 mills, up .60 mills.

In 2016, the millage rate was reduced from 13.57 mills to 13.17 mills.

“The proposed increase in the general fund operating millage is two-tenths of a mill which equates to about $350,000 of tax revenue,” the memo from Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold says. “The additional revenue is needed to support basic maintenance and operations needs for the 77-acre property on South Columbia Drive soon to be acquired by the City. The proposed increase in the debt service fund millage is four-tenths of a mill which equates to close to $700,000. This increase is needed in order to make the first principal debt service payment due on Aug. 1, 2018 for the City Schools of Decatur general obligation bonds that were approved by the voters in November 2015 for capital construction.  The proposed six-tenths mill in the tax rate results in an increase of $145 for an owner of a property with a fair market value of $500,000.”

– Commissioners will consider modifying regulations that pertain to the use of “mobile food facilities” in the city.

“The proposed amendments to the Code of Ordinances of the City of Decatur, will promote expanded opportunities for local businesses and will encourage the creative reuse of public spaces by permitting as a temporary use food sales in public spaces by redefining improper uses of public spaces,” the memo from Planning Director Angela Threadgill says. “Further, the proposed amendments to will provide protections to existing residential zoned neighborhoods, safety and welfare of pedestrians, and addressing distances between similar uses, while serving the needs of both residents and Decatur’s visitors attracted to alternative dining options.”

– The commission will also consider executing a “Contract for Services” with the Decatur Arts Alliance for the third phase of the Decatur Artway project. The contract is for a $10,000 grant to replace five sculptures in downtown Decatur with five new art pieces. The first two phases placed 10 sculptures in downtown Decatur and the Oakhurst business district.

There will be an opportunity for public comment at the May 15 meeting.

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