By JOHN A. BALLENTINE
For The Weekly Post
ELMWOOD – The City of Elmwood will be raising water/sewer, and garbage rates for the upcoming year. This measure was approved by the city council at its Dec. 3 meeting.
“This is our annual increase where we typically do a 3 percent increase, which covers the additional costs, such as chemicals [for the water and sewer plants], and the overall rate. Garbage rates went up about 3 percent this year for us,” Mayor Brian Davis said.
Davis suggested a 3 percent increase, with the possibility of a lower increase due to impacts of COVID-19 on the local economy. After discussion, and being reminded that the rate was raised 4 percent last year, the council voted for the 3 percent rate increase for 2021 on all three services
Water shutoffs were mentioned, but the council had previously agreed to defer those until March, 2021 and then re-evaluate at that time. Shutoffs had been deferred due to the negative impacts of COVID-19 on Elmwood’s economy and residents’ ability to pay the charges.
The council approved the city’s 2021 schedule of council meetings wherein the council will meet twice a month January though May plus September to November while meeting once a month during June, July, August and December.
Davis said he cancelled the city’s holiday party this month due to the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place. He said each elected official and city employee would receive a turkey or a ham for Christmas.
In other action, the council approved a $15,000 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district grant program application submitted by One-Five Ventures concerning the refurbishment of Elm Haven, located at 101 W. Rose. This is a projected $100,000-plus “makeover” that includes the interior and exterior of the structure with new windows, heating and cooling systems and the elevator.
An adult-use cannabis ordinance was approved that regulates the cultivation, processing and dispensing of adult use cannabis businesses in Elmwood. In conjunction, the council approved amending a previous ordinance that prohibited cannabis businesses in Elmwood. Those businesses will now be allowed in the city.
The council approved a revolving loan hardship deferral program for businesses in Elmwood for approximately $3,000 to $5,000, 0 percent interest, and no payments for six months, according to Economic Development Director Amy Davis.
Discussion occurred concerning the City of Elmwood’s economic support grant program that is a new program called the “Elmwood Business Sustainability Grant Program.” The program is designed to assist businesses with economic losses incurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are focused toward restaurants, bars and similar establishments that were and are required to shut down or curtail business due to the COVID restrictions.
By JOHN A. BALLENTINE