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Sales tax goes flat in Folsom

By: Laura Newell Telegraph Staff Writer
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At Tuesday’s Folsom City Council meeting, presentations showed sales taxes are flat in the city. The office of management and budget presented the fourth quarter report for the fiscal year 2009/2010 to the council. “In the general fund, we had very few surprises,” said Jim Francis, chief financial officer for the city. He said the general fund was in line with projections but indicate some warning signs. Signs include, property taxes declined for the first time as a result of a lower tax base, sales taxes have stabilized but have not showed signs of growth. The city, he said, is “pretty much in line” from what was projected. “We are projecting it (sales tax) go up next year, we will be watching it very closely,” Francis said. “Sales tax revenue projections for the fiscal year 2010 have been adjusted down.” Council member Ernie Sheldon cautioned they have to be careful with projections. Also on the meeting’s agenda was the approval of better security systems for the police department. A resolution was approved authorizing the city manager to execute an agreement with Surveillance Systems Integration, Inc. for the purchase of and installation of a 3VR security system for the police facility. It was presented by the police department that people were jumping the fences near the police cars and a system was needed. “You need it,” said Sheldon. “Why did you wait so long?” Mayor Jeff Starsky replied, “because they didn’t have funding.” Other business included approval of a resolution repealing cardroom employee work permit fee and cardroom table-per-year fee and enacting a quarterly per cardroom table operations fee. Dan Dreher, owner of FLB Sports Bar and Casino in Folsom, attended the meeting to speak on behalf of his cardroom. “We were applying for a city ordinance change through the city of Folsom,” Dreher said. “About 20 years ago, when cardrooms were in Folsom, they had older ordinances that were outdated.” The council approved the new ordinance which now includes the number of people who can be in a poker game from eight to 10 people, allowing game bets to be unlimited from the previous $300 maximum bet and changed the ability to have nine tables on the poker room floor rather than six tables. “This is especially important for no-limit Texas holdem’ poker games,” he said. In return, Dreher said, the city asked for an increase in table fees of over four times of what they used to pay to the city. “We are happy about the outcome because we see it as we are gaining more poker players to come out and play unlimited games,” he said. “It’s a good step in a positive direction.” David Miller, community development director, presented a new housing development called Parkside Subdivision at Barnhill Drive near Iron Point Road. Council approved the resolution for a tentative subdivision map to subdivide the 5.66-acre project site into 70 single-family residential lots and 9 private drive lots. The resolution also approved a planned development permit modification for the development of a 70-unit single-family residential subdivision. During public comment, local residents responded positively to the development. The property owners said they had a number of meetings with the homeowners around the proposed property and heard positive responses about the development. During new business, an appeal by Folsom resident Jennifer Scalzi was presented regarding a historic district commission design review approval of a residential addition and remodel of an existing single-family residence neighboring her on Sutter Street. Based on analysis results, Miller recommended the council deny the appeal and uphold the Historic District Commissions Design Review Approval of a residential addition and remodel. According to the community development department analysis, the 1,908-square-foot residence located on Sutter Street, which was originally constructed in 1992, is a fairly simple rectangular building. The existing single-family residence features a stucco exterior, wood trim, single-hung and sliding vinyl windows, and composition shingle roof tiles. Owners Buzz and Cindy Raley made improvements. “We don’t want to do any harm to Folsom, I love this city,” Cindy Raley said. In May, Buzz and Cindy Raley submitted an application to the city for design review approval. The proposed project included a two-story 1,158-square-foot addition onto the rear of the residence, a two-tier 840-square-foot deck off the rear of the house and a 216-square-foot front balcony addition on the front of the home. The proposed project also included remodeling various aspects of the existing residence including a new, higher pitched roof with architectural grade composition shingles, replacing the stucco facade on the front elevation with 8-inch horizontal lap siding, introduction of wood shingle siding, replacement of existing windows and doors, a new garage door, a new exterior spiral staircase and decorative wood trim and rails. Scalzi, a neighboring property owner, expressed concern regarding a variety of issues including the impact on views, a reduction in privacy and the inappropriate scale of the residential addition. “I can see through a tree, but I can’t see through a house,” Scalzi said. Scalzi was concerned about the sunlight that she would loose in her yard from the new project. She said she spent a lot of time and money to create a garden and home that she was comfortable in and without the sunlight, her work would disappear. “It doesn’t seem fair that I have to lose my hard work and my view so they can improve their view,” Scalzi said. Raley rebutted her concerns. “We don’t think there are any issues with the view,” Raley said. “We do think we will bring some value to the street. We would really like to get along with our neighbors…we want to add newness to the street.” Some neighboring residents also expressed their concern. “I’m opposed to this project,” said Jennifer Lang, neighboring resident on Sibley Street. “I think it sets an unprecedented size to the lot to the historic district. It’s compromising the integrity to the historic district.” Council members Steve Miklos and Andy Morin supported the applicant because the proposed project met all city codes. They also applauded the owner for improving and updating the home from stucco exteriors. “This seems like a he said, she said case,” said Sheldon. Sheldon asked if all assistance was provided to the appealer. “We do follow what we need to in the code,” Miller said. “Any assistance she needed, we provided.” “I don’t think it’s as big of a rendering as you think it’s going to be,” said council member Kerri Howell to Scalzi. Starsky agreed with council members that Scalzi’s view would not be lost. “I do not believe your views are going to be (blocked),” Starsky said. “I think what you (Raley) are presenting is improving the historic district.” To view the full meeting, visit folsom.ca.us.