City Council adopts City of Linden budget and LEDC budget

Linden City Council approved the Linden Economic Development Corporations budget and the City of Linden budget. 
The vote for the LEDC budget was one to two vote, Alderman Jeanie Stevens voted against the budget due to not agreeing with the budget line item of $700 to buy lunch for LEDC board members at their meetings.
“Members of LEDC are all successful businessmen and I don’t see why we need to buy their lunch and it is just my opinion nothing personal,” said Stevens. 
Stevens first abstained from the vote then changed her vote to against the LEDC budget.
The LEDC also budget $6,000 for the billboards located on Highway 59. 
LEDC Executive Director Gus Gustafson spoke about the reason behind budgeting for the billboard and signs.
“They need a facelift the one on the north end then the other on the school property so we started discussing how we want to move forward for that  and we can also use that for the welcome sign, the welcome to Linden sign could also use some help,” said Gustafson. 
Alderman Sue Lazara and Alderman Mike Berry were not present at the Sept. 11 council meeting.
The council approved the nomination for re-appointment of LEDC board members which are Frank Lanier, Chris Spencer, Kyle Morgan and Richard Bowden. 
Alderman Kenny Hamilton questioned if there was anyone who showed interest in serving on the LEDC board. 
 “We had one person that was about this time last year but did not come back,” said LEDC Office Manager Beverly Freeman. 
Alderman Frank Lanier abstained from voting due to the conflict of interest that he is one on the LEDC board nominees. 
LEDC Executive Director Gus Gustafson presented a LEDC update about the sales tax revenue.
“Compared to this time last year we are down 15.3 percent and many of our neighbors are down,” said Gustafson. 
Council approved a siren resolution for a warning siren for the 2015 FEMA mitigation project which funds the purchase of a warning siren for the city of Linden.
The council approved the 2017-2018 budget for the City of Linden which includes funding for the library and renovations of the Crow-Heath baseball park. 
The city budgeted $30,000 for the library and $30,000 for the renovation of the Crow-Heath baseball park in the approved city budget. 
Linden City Administrator Bob Swisher spoke about the funding for the renovation the Crow-Heath baseball park renovation and other ways to completely fund the renovations. 
“I have got some feedback but no hard bids because we have to define the project just a little bit better but they think between $40,000 and $50,000 should be plenty to remodel the snack bar and build the new bathrooms – if it goes the city will stay with the budgeted $30,000 and the youth athletic association has $10,000 and the LEDC has talked about putting some money into the parks but we will sort all that out once we get closer and we can also go out and look for some other fundraiser and donations,” said Swisher.
Linden Main Street Manager Allie Anderson presented and update on the progress of the Main Street Program. 
“At our August board meeting we used it as a by-laws workshop because our board members were not involved in the creation of our by-laws. We took this as an opportunity for them to dig deeper into them and figure out if this reflects what the organization we want to be. It was great they all got really involved and we ended up staying for about two and half hours going through them line by line,” said Anderson. 
Anderson plans to bring the revised by-laws to city council at the October meeting to be approved. 
“On our budget the EDC was generous enough to fund our façade grant program for the next fiscal year for another $10,000 and also set another $10,000 to be decided for any economic development projects that we want to take on,” said Anderson. 
Anderson spoke about the progress of replanting the flower boxes located around the downtown area. 
“Coming up we are replanting the downtown planters. The current aesthetic is not want we to achieve for the rest of the year, so we sent out letters to non-profits in our area and we are waiting to hear back, we have one check in already from Linden Lions Club which donated $100, we are asking organizations to donate $100 for two planters,” said Anderson
Anderson also spoke about a pop-up shop event for this fall that the Main Street board is working towards.
“It’s going to be a pop-up shop week so will have some interest in attracting potential business’s to try out their idea and hopefully open in some of our vacant storefronts, we will have small business apply they will go through an application process they may go through business coaching and we will need to see a business plan, it will not be festival vendor type stuff it will be I have an idea and I want to try and open a brick and mortar store but I need to try out the market first or I have a store in Atlanta and I am thinking about expanding and we are looking at the week after thanksgiving for the event,” said Anderson.

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