Tuesday, June 7, 2011

City council adopts 2011-12 budget by 4-2 vote

The Midway City Council approved a budget with $912,912 in spending for the fiscal year beginning July 1 by a vote of 4 to 2 last night. The "no" votes were cast by Becky Moore, who failed in her effort to give the county planning and zoning commission the extra $5,291 it wanted, and Joy Arnold, who objected to the format of the budget "as not being clear and obvious on its face."

Moore suggested that the city had the money for the planning commission, noting that the $1,127,990 budget presumes a carry-forward balance of $215,078 at the beginning and end of the year. City Clerk Phyllis Hudson said, "That's all of our assets. It's not cash." Mayor Tom Bozarth said he tried to estimate revenue low and expenses high.

While the budget calls for spending only 81 percent of the available resources, it also anticipates $60,000 in revenue from sale of the old sewage treatment plant, just as last year's budget did, to to avail. Bozarth said after the meeting that the prospective buyer remains the same but has had other priorities. To view the budget ordinance, which was passed in the format of an Excel spreadsheet, click here.

The format confounded Arnold, right, who wanted the document to reflect the extra $6,000 that the city plans to give the Versailles Police Department to cover higher fuel costs under its contracts to patrol the whole county. Because the spreadsheet lists appropriations only in general categories, not the detail seen in the draft budget the council discussed, reflecting the change would have required a new first and second reading of the ordinance, City Attorney Phil Moloney said. To view the more detailed draft budget, click here.

The extra $6,000 will come from the $15,000 "contingency" line item in the general part of the budget. Arnold said all police expense should have its own line item because it is such an important public service. Council Member Sharon Turner sympathized with her, but said listing all the line items "would take up a page in The Woodford Sun," in which the ordinance must be published. Bozarth said the monthly budget report to the council will track police expenses, but Arnold said that report "makes very little sense because of its setup."

The budget includes more than $26,000 for the planning commission, which has asked all three local governments for more money because the decline in real-estate activity has left it with less fee income. The county provided the extra money requested of it, but Versailles did not, even though it rasied taxes. Council Member Dan Roller said he was concerned that cuts at the commission would lead to fewer housing inspections and enforcement actions against substandard properties. "There are certainly more of those than there are new properties," he said. Bozarth said the council could reconsider the commission's request "if they're having trouble."

In other second and final readings, the council approved changes in the floodplain zoning ordinance and a measure establishing local hours for bars and restaurants: 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The council gained the authority to set hours different from the rest of the county when the legislature made Midway a fourth-class city.

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