City council delays action on oil, gas proposal

By Tim Farley, News Editor


Piedmont’s city council postponed action on two key proposals involving oil and gas restrictions and chickens in residential areas.

Council members had met in two work sessions on the oil and gas topic but apparently it wasn’t enough to pass a new ordinance. Before Monday’s council meeting, the panel had agreed in a work session to use 700 feet as a setback requirement for oil and gas wells.

However, that was changed Monday. Now, the council wants to amend the proposed ordinance by allowing land owners and the oil company to reach an agreement on drilling if the well is 350 to 700 feet from the property line.

If the wellhead is more than 700 feet from the property line, the oil company’s permit would automatically be approved, City Manager Jason Orr said.  [Read More]


(File Photo)


Former Piedmont fire chief Lofgren laid to rest


Former Piedmont Fire Chief Rick Lofgren was laid to rest Wednesday after battling a disease the last few weeks that affected his brain and spine.

Lofgren, who spent 30 years as a public servant, served as Piedmont’s chief from 1985 until his retirement. Prior to that, he was deputy chief for eight years. He joined the department in 1969.

Former Mayor John Bickerstaff remembered Lofgren as a “professional, dedicated fire chief.”

“He had the best interests of the department at heart. He was always working to upgrade the equipment and making it a better facility for every...[Read More]

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Jason Orr, Piedmont City Manager (File Photo)

Sales tax drops again, but little concern shown

By Tim Farley, News Editor


Piedmont dropped more than $25,000 in April compared to the same month in 2016, but City Manager Jason Orr said he’s not concerned.

The city received a $168,880 this month, but $194,007 a year ago.

The drop didn’t seem to bother Orr, who hasn’t shown concern any time the sales tax revenue drops.

“It’s always going up and down. It’s a fluctuating number. I don’t see any specific contributing factor so I’m not concerned,” he said. “If we see a trend that continues to go downward the next couple of months then we will become concerned.”

Since sales tax revenue is a city’s primary source of revenue, Piedmont seems to be stuck in a financial quagmire.

“We have no other option than sales tax,” Orr said. “Oh, we could increase fees for water, sewer and trash but that wouldn’t be very popular.”

Piedmont’s 5 percent city sales tax rate is one of the highest in the state.

In an attempt to increase its sales tax base, Piedmont reportedly is courting some retailers and restaurant chains interested in locating there, but Orr said he wasn’t prepared to talk about it.  [Read More]

A black veil is draped across the front of Piedmont Engine 2 in honor of former Fire Chief Rick Lofgren who died Sunday. (Photo by Tim Farley)

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