Calera council forms historic business district

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Calera City Council voted unanimously last week to designate a new historic business district, zoned B-3, for the downtown area.

B-3 is similar to B-2, except for a couple of areas:

* B-2 businesses have 35-foot setback requirements to the front, side and back. B-3 businesses do not have that requirement.

* B-3 businesses must be reviewed and approved by a board that will be formed at an upcoming council meeting. Members will include the mayor, a council member, planning commission chairman (or representative), city engineer (or representative), a member from the industrial development board and two other citizens.

According to city zoning official Mike Kent, the following uses will be permitted in the B-3 district – subject to approval from board and further approval from the city: minor bakeries, banks or financial services, bed and breakfasts or hotels, business or professional offices, commercial parking, indoor entertainment, general retail, medical support services, personal services, pocket park, minor printing establishments, public assembly centers, public buildings, restaurants without drive-throughs and studios.

Current businesses that are not in the above list will be allowed to stay.

&uot;If it’s there, it’s there,&uot; Kent said. &uot;But if it disappears, it can’t go back.&uot;

Calera Mayor George Roy said additional parking is needed in the area.

&uot;Someday, sooner or later, we’re going to have to look to have parking downtown,&uot; he said.

Clean audit

In other business, the council learned recently it received a favorable audit for Fiscal Year 2004.

&uot;The auditory opinion is a clean opinion,&uot; auditor Brian Barksdale said.

The audit is not meant to show the financial condition of the city, even though the general fund increased some 13 percent between FY 2003 and FY 2004.

According to Barksdale, 72 percent of revenues and 100 percent of debt was confirmed during the process.

&uot;That’s pretty strong,&uot; he said.

He did say the city needed to address issues in compliance and external control – particularly in regard to segregation of duties.

&uot;Several of these conditions were resolved late in the year or sometime after the year,&uot; he said. &uot;My suggestion would be in another month or so, we would like to come by and spend a day or two and do a re-review … to see what has been resolved.

&uot;Let’s be sure to take care of as many of these items as we can.&uot;

City Clerk Linda Steele said the recent hiring of Michael V. Hinson as finance director and operating administrator will help.

&uot;Hiring Mike is the best thing the city council has done,&uot; she said.

Hinson recently went through the the city’s budget and determined areas where it could possibly be tweaked, while freeing up another $283,000. He gave council members a copy of the proposed amended budget