WATERVLIET — City commissioners on Tuesday took care of a number of relatively routine fiscal-housekeeping items, but one unusual item did emerge – the construction of a large pole barn in town that has some folks upset. 

As a result of the building – which fits existing zoning regulations – the city took the first steps Tuesday toward tightening up the relevant zoning for accessory buildings.

Pole barns are legal in Watervliet as long as they meet certain conditions. The building in question, described as highly visible, was built late last year.

Mayor David Brinker spelled out some preliminary ideas for further regulating pole barns, including a 14-foot rooftop limit, and a maximum size of 1,000 square feet. Any such rules will have to be formally written up and presented for public hearing before they can be approved.

During a public comment period of the meeting, resident Rick Rasmussen offered support for further regulation, emphasizing that it’s important to “maintain the residential nature” of the community.

“I think everyone’s on the same page, that we need to do something” to regulate pole-barn buildings, Dotson said. The potential new rules, if they are implemented, would simply “close any gaps in existing zoning rules.”

Also at the meeting, commissioners signed off on the city’s spending and payroll outlays for March. They also approved the city’s recent expense of just over $4,000 for the purchase and installation of specialized equipment for the city’s recently purchased new squad car.

The commission also unanimously OK’d a measure that establishes specific financial guidelines for a “poverty exemption” – the income level below which residents are not required to pay property tax on their residences. As federal poverty measures are adjusted yearly, commissioners must refresh their guideline annually.

Under the new guidelines, a family of four is granted a Watervliet property-tax exemption if the household’s gross income is $25,100 or less.

In addition, City Manager Tyler Dotson gave commissioners an update of the Highview Drain Project. The Morlock property on High View Street has been subject to erosion and drainage problems for some time, and commissioners late last year approved funds to correct the situation. Dotson told commissioners that the city has started taking bids for the project, that a contract should be signed in the latter part of May, and that construction should be completed by July 1.