Although a new sign ordinance was passed in October 2008, more work still needs to be done.
During Tuesday's meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil, Lamar Advertising Company Real Estate Manager Marcia Setzer addressed concerns with some of the fees.
"There is a lack of a definition for the meaning or alteration in the sign ordinance," Setzer said. "It's hard to tell if that includes changing the copy on a billboard and it appears there is a $1,000 fee to do that, which makes it a little prohibitive to do work here."
Setzer added she felt the ordinance lacked practicality and needed it to be clearer because her company wants to continue working in the city.
City Attorney Bob Pell said he spoke with City Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens and the $1,000 fee appeared to be for erecting of new signs, but agreed the wording in the ordinance needed to be clearer.
"There isn't a fee to just change the copy on a billboard, but there would be fees to make the sign bigger, add lighting and other similar types of changes," he said. "The council worked on the ordinance for a while, and it was complicated to begin with, but we have been talking about working on it some more."
Olin Strader, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church, 201 W. National Ave., Brazil, added his own concerns about the sign ordinance during the audience comments portion of the meeting.
"We recently received a notice from Stacy that we needed to remove our temporary sign," Strader said. "The problem is, we are renting the facility and I don't believe we can put up a permanent sign, but I will have to discuss it with our landlord."
The current ordinance specifies temporary signs may only be utilized once a year for a maximum of 30 days, which Strader also had concerns about.
"We have a few events, like our upcoming Vacation Bible School, in which we use the sign to advertise as well," he said. "I'm all in favor of beautifying the city, but I don't think this is a wise decision personally."
Council member Sam Glover said if the landlord doesn't allow for a permanent sign to be put up, Strader could apply for a variance to keep the current sign.
Mayor Ann Bradshaw added the council has been discussing making changes to the ordinance and a work session has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, at 5:30 p.m., to address the matter further.
Meanwhile, the council considered an option to re-establish the city's Cumulative Capital Development Fund at $.05 per $100 of assessed value, starting in 2010.
City Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen said the current rate is set at $.0286, and the increase would create additional funding for the city.
"The increase would generate approximately $33,000 in additional funds, which could be used in a variety of ways, including renovations, improvements and the purchase of equipment for the police and fire departments, just to name a few," McQueen said. "Basically it would allow the city to allocate funding in a different way."
With Tuesday night being the first time many of the council members saw the proposal, they voted to table the issue until the June meeting to allow time to review it further.
"We don't want to hit people in the pockets, but to get things done, we have to find ways to create revenue," McQueen said. "It will be especially needed next year because we are anticipating the city's property tax revenue to be down $140,000 with the caps."
In other business, the council unanimously approved a water system plan for the City of Brazil.
West Central Indiana Economic Development District Economic Development Planner Terry Jones said the water study plan was paid for through grant money, and the plan must now be sent to the state for approval.
"We are hoping to get a response within the next 30 days so hopefully work can begin on the projects," Jones said.
The next meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, in the Council Chambers of City Hall.