Following a public hearing for the 2016 tax rate, Palmyra City Council members unanimously voted to keep the rate at the same level as the previous year.

Following a public hearing for the 2016 tax rate, Palmyra City Council members unanimously voted to keep the rate at the same level as the previous year.

City Attorney Chase Hickman read the tax rate ordinance to the council members, which will remain at the 2015 rate of $.6489 cents per $100 valuation. Charlie Erwin visited to ask the city to vacate Hinds Avenue, which borders four undeveloped lots Erwin wished to sell.

Erwin called the issue a “dead horse,” asking the council for a motion. Mayor Loren Graham asked the council to discuss positive and negative points on the subject, so everyone could exchange questions and concerns.

“I hate to see us hold this hostage with something else,” Graham said.

Council member Ken Sheputis said that vacating the road could “stop progress” in the area.

“That’s where my hangup is on it,” he said. Fellow council member Nathan Miller said he had concerns about the future, too.

He said if plans for a new subdivision in the same spot came before a future council, the vacated road could pose a stumbling block.

“I see this as a potential for headaches in the future,” Miller said.

Erwin said he disagreed, and that he wanted to see the city continue to expand.

Sheputis and Miller agreed that consolidating the four vacant lots would allow the land to be sold at once, so a future developer would proceed with the usual subdivision plat approval process — if the land would be developed into a subdivision in the future. Hickman said he would research the steps needed for an amended subdivision plat that could combine the lots.

In other business:

• Graham announced that the city sent out four requests for stormwater improvements. The council plans to host a special meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20, inviting Klingner and Associates at 6 p.m. and MECO Engineering at 7 p.m. Each firm will present their details and plans for the proposed work.

•Council member Josh Smith reported that a few citizens discovered bicycle thefts in the South Spring Street area. Board of Public Works General Superintendent Brent Abell said he would look into a security light for the neighborhood. Police Chief Eddie Bogue said the suspect was apprehended, admitting the thefts were for cash, and the specific neighborhood was targeted because it was out-of-the-way, dark and quiet.

•Bogue reminded the council that the Palmyra Police Department would conduct active shooter training from noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Sesquicentennial Building.

•Graham said he met with the Fire Department to discuss a potential Fire Protection District tax issue. No rate has been set at this time, but a Jefferson City-based attorney is preparing paperwork for a petition. City personnel hope to have a ballot issue ready by April 2017.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com