It will be business as usual for the most part during 2004 in the city of Dearing.
There won't be many changes in the New Year, according to Dearing Mayor Ralph Menees. He said the few changes that are on the way have been coming for some time now.
Some of the issues coming up in the New Year are taxes, garbage pickup, and the filling of a vacant city council seat. These issues have been on the table in previous city council meetings and final decisions will be made in the coming months.
Currently the tax rate inside the Dearing City Limits is two mills. Normally 1.8 mills are rolled back leaving the collected amount at 0.2 mills. This usually generates around $1,300, but because of a tax bill glitch, the 2003 taxes will not be collected.
"We're supposed to show the two-mill tax rate, the 1.8 rollback, and then the net. We're supposed to be showing that on every bill, but we haven't been doing that. We've just been showing the net," Mayor Menees said. "So this year we decided to do away with taxes completely."
For 2004, Dearing officials are hoping taxes will be catalogued on computer. The Dearing City Council will also consider the possibility of raising taxes for 2004.
Also new for 2004, Dearing residents may soon be paying for garbage collection. Currently, residents inside the city limits are not charged for the service.
Because of a water/sewer system shortfall, the council voted to charge for trash pickup to pay the difference. Research is still being done to determine if this plan will be implemented in the coming year.
"We are planning on -- of course it's still not definite -- charging for garbage pickup," Mayor Menees said. "Right now, we're still in the process of counting and getting addresses and things of that nature."
The city council will also be back to full strength soon. Currently the council has been operating with only three members because former City Councilman Skeet Reeves moved and no longer resides within the Dearing City limits.
Mr. Reeves recently turned in his resignation from the council, and will be replaced during the Jan. 12 meeting. According to the city charter, the mayor and remaining city council members elect someone to fill a vacated spot on the council.
"I do have Skeet's resignation in hand, so officially then we will elect a new council member," Mayor Menees said.
Also, two streets may be paved in the coming year, pending DOT approval. Harris Street and Prather Street were added to the list of roads to be paved using funding from the Local Assistance Road Paving program.