CITY COUNCIL ROUNDUP: APARTMENT PROPOSAL PUSHED BACK, BUDGET APPROVED
Tuesday’s Tuscaloosa City Council was a packed house in the wake of a controversial rezoning proposal for new student apartments on Rice Mine Road. But developer Stan Pate made a last-minute request and tabled the issue for four weeks.
The proposed site is a vacant 7 acre lot between Rice Mine Road Loop and McFarland Boulevard Northeast. Pate proposed an 800-bed student apartment complex in the area, but that plan was rejected by the Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission because of a 2014 city resolution capping apartment complex bed counts at 200.
A new public hearing on the proposed plan will be held Nov. 7.
In other Tuscaloosa City Council news:
The Tuscaloosa City Council approved the $200 million-plus 2018 operating budget for the general fund, along with the water and sewer fund. The budget includes a 3 percent water rate increase for residents.
The budget includes a 5 percent cut to city agencies and city departments.
“The 5 percent reduction will have an impact for this year,” said Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Mike Daria. “We can make some adjustments in supplies and materials, but mostly it will be absorbed through reserves. We will have to make a budget correction as we work into the next year.”
The Tuscaloosa City Council is purchasing 46 new police cars with funds collected from red-light cameras and departmental savings. The cameras have collected $1.5 million since they went up in 2013, and that money along with $500,000 from salary savings and $124,000 from assets are going toward the new vehicles.
Lurleen Wallace Boulevard will be seeing about $25 million in upgrades over the next few years. About $6 million of those funds are coming from the city itself. The project will take about two years, and upgrades begin in December.