AUGUSTA — Proposals to add staff members to help maintain and run Lithgow Public Library, which is undergoing a major expansion, and add a part-time code enforcement position to help oversee the city’s aging housing stock, are up for discussion Thursday as city councilors review the proposed city budget.

Councilors also are scheduled to take a final vote on whether to approve a controversial proposed property maintenance ordinance that would require residents to keep their properties up to standards set by the city.

The $58.1 million budget proposed to councilors early this month by City Manager William Bridgeo would increase property taxes by 4.24 percent as proposed.

Bridgeo said one of the primary drivers of the spending increase in the city’s $26.4 million share of the combined city and school budget is about $650,000 in increased wages and benefits for city employees.

While some of that increase in spending on wages is the result of contractual obligations for existing city employees, a significant portion is caused by the addition of a full-time custodian’s position, two part-time staff positions at the library, and a part-time code enforcement officer position.

Bridgeo said the additional library positions are needed to staff the expanded library, which will be well more than double its previous size when an ongoing renovation and expansion project is completed there late this summer or early fall. He said officials anticipated additional positions would be needed for the larger library before funding for its construction was approved by voters in 2014. Two new part-time library support positions, one of which would work in youth services, would be funded in the budget.


“If you double the size of the library, you’re going to need more custodial support and more library staff to monitor the building and see to the needs of the public,” Bridgeo said Tuesday.

Bridgeo said the proposed part-time code enforcement officer position is needed because the city’s two code officers are already overextended and the proposed property maintenance ordinance probably would place more demands on them. He said the city had three full-time code officers until cutting back to two in 2008 for budgetary reasons. He also said the city’s aging rental housing requires more staff time to help make sure it is safe.

The proposed city budget is on the city’s website. Councilors are scheduled to review different portions of the budget at each of their meetings over the next several weeks.

Councilors have said the proposed property maintenance ordinance was drafted because residents came to city officials with concerns about poorly maintained buildings. Those include buildings in foreclosure, some of which are an eyesore and could reduce neighboring property values.

However, some councilors and residents have said they think the ordinance goes too far and is an infringement on private property rights.

Councilors held the first of two readings on the proposed property maintenance ordinance April 7 and are scheduled to take what would be a final vote to approve it Thursday.


Councilors also are scheduled to hold public hearings and consider approving a tax increment financing agreement and a zone change to help J.S. McCarthy expand by adding equipment and 14,400 feet to its existing building in the Augusta Business Park.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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