Berkeley Lake changes tree removal requirements
BERKELEY LAKE -- Deputy city administrator Pat Chapman presented proposed changes to the city's tree removal regulations Thursday, citing a need to lessen the burden on Berkeley Lake's Ordinance Enforcement Officer's time.
The new regulations, which the City Council approved unanimously, state that property owners with fewer than 5 acres may remove two trees per year without obtaining a permit. Those trees may not be specimen trees. Also, if a tree is diseased or dead and an arborist certifies that condition, that tree may be removed.
City considers 2013 millage rate
City Administrator Tom Rozier stated that a millage rate of 2.67, lower than the previous rate, is being considered for the upcoming fiscal year. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 8 p.m. on June 18 at City Hall. That meeting will replace the regularly scheduled June meeting, which would have been held on June 20.
Berkeley Lake resident and former councilman Bernie Cohen cautioned city leaders about lowering the property tax rate, as there are existing and future problems in the city which need to be addressed. One example Cohen gave was the exploding deer population in the area.
"Seeing a deer here in Berkeley Lake used to be a novelty. Now, it's a nuisance," Cohen said. The drained lake has added to the problem, as the dry lake bed has provided another 80-plus acres on which the deer now feed. Once the lake is filled, that food source will go away. The deer will starve and become diseased, creating a health hazard.
Cohen also added that, once a car hits a deer, that deer can still run a good distance, disappearing into the city's green space and dying there. Coyotes then feed on the carcass and leave a dangerous, foul-smelling mess. "Something has to be done about the deer here," Cohen said.
City considers uses for possible new SPLOST
Rozier told Mayor Lois Salter and council members Thursday that Gwinnett County is already working with cities to plan for the use of future SPLOST funds, should voters approve a new SPLOST that would begin in April 2014. Council members agreed that Berkeley Lake should plan to use its portion of the proceeds for administrative facilities, and roads and bridges.
If a SPLOST is again approved by voters, Berkeley Lake's projected portion of the tax proceeds is about $1 million (for a 3-year span) and about $1.5 million (for a 5-year span). Rozier recommended that $170,000 of that be set aside for administrative facilities (city hall), and the rest for roads and bridges.