Citizens of Portsmouth will get a look at the new income tax budget at the next meeting of Portsmouth City Council, set for June 8. In a conference session Tuesday night, an item on the agenda for discussion calls for City Council to prepare legislation to authorize and direct the preparation of a resolution adopting the 2010 income tax budget for the city. Portsmouth City Auditor Trent Williams told the Portsmouth Daily Times there are no figures available yet, but he expects the numbers to be available when the resolution comes before Council at the next legislative session. Most of the discussion at Tuesday nights legislative meeting centered around a controversial liquor license approved for an establishment within 90 feet of a church. Several members of Riverview Wesleyan Church, 212 Madison St., spoke to Council concerning what they feel was lack of notification of the filing for the license in a timely manner. I believe the process is: the city is notified of the transfer of a liquor license, and the city clerk forwards it to the Police Department for their input as to whether there had been any problems with the previous license or the establishment where its at, Portsmouth Mayor James Kalb responded. And the residents in the area are also notified, but they are notified by the state. Kalb said City Council would only be involved if the residents of the area come to City Council members. City Council has no idea what is going on other than the notice that the police department had a problem or didnt have a problem, Kalb said. But if there were any problems City Council would have to know, and at that time I guess the state had a hearing, and City Council could have voiced our objections at the hearing, Kalb said, at that time, there had been no objections. Portsmouth City Clerk Joann Aeh explained the notification process. One they notify the chief enforcement officer of the city which is the Chief of Police (Charles Horner), and any objections he has have to come by way of a resolution from City Council. Thats why City Council is notified, Aeh said. They also have a notice they send to residents, to schools and to churches. And that is a separate objection by the citizens, the churches or the schools. Aeh said evidently, in this case, the notice that was sent to the citizens was sent after the deadline for the city to determine if it wanted to have a hearing or not. Somebody dropped the ball, Kalb said. It wasnt that the city approved the transfer. It was just that there was no objection to law enforcement to that (license) being transferred. Two members of City Council, Bob Mollette and Jerrold Albrecht, said if there was anything City Council could do at this point they should do it. In other council business: Mollette took the opportunity to appoint Darlene Daub to the City Traffic Committee. Portsmouth citizen Alan Barlow told Council he had sent two letters to Kalbs office asking for the city to appropriate $2,000 for the upcoming North End Reunion in which several thousand former residents of the north end of Portsmouth will return for a celebration. Kalb later said he had passed the letters on to Council, and Councilman Mike Mearan indicated the city would be prepared to make the appropriation at the next council meeting. Council passed an ordinance authorizing an additional appropriation of $37,036 for the purchase of a backhoe as requested by the Waterworks Department. After amending the wording, council also accepted an insurance check in the amount of $7,949 for replacement of a vehicle for the Drug Task Force. It replaces a vehicle that had been wrecked. Council gave a second reading to an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to offer for sale real estate located south of 12th Street to 11th Street, commonly known as the turnaround ramp.
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.