[Nameplate] Fair ~ 57°F  
High: 75°F ~ Low: 64°F
Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Budget, franchise fees topic of Cherokee Village meeting

Friday, August 12, 2011

Budget shortfalls and the water department's refusal to collect water franchise fees, once again took front and center at the July 26 meeting of the Cherokee Village City Council.

In the correspondence section of the council meeting, a letter from Steve Rose, representing the Cherokee Village Water Department, was read to council.

The letter explained the department would not collect franchise fees.

The city recently passed an ordinance requiring the department to collect the fees on water bills.

The letter indicated the department would not collect the fees because it is not a public utility.

Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley informed council he would seek an opinion from the State Attorney General on the matter.

The council passed a motion for money which is owed to the city's street department from the General fund, "to be forgiven."

The issue brought a lot of discussion among members who had varying opinions, including former council member Peter Martin.

Martin asked if it was legal to transfer money from one fund to another, and others questioned the designation of the money when it was initially brought into the budget.

Terry Romans, the city's administrative assistant, assured council it was legal to "forgive" the debt, as it was not solely designated to the street department when it was received.

The council voted to keep the $54,289 in the General Fund.

Next, council heard a proposal from Alderman Curtis Bratcher regarding adopting a reserve policy and balanced budget.

Bratcher said these ordinances would serve as guidance for the city in the future to avoid the type of budget shortfalls the city is experiencing currently.

He said, had there been one in place to begin with, the city would not be having the issues they are currently experiencing.

In final orders of business, Alderman Lynn Maxedon made two proposals, one which passed and one which was met with discussion and opposition.

In an effort to reduce the city's expenses, Maxedon suggested having only one city council meeting per month, saving the city $180, or $20 per meeting, per alderman.

The motion was passed. Secondly, Maxedon asked council to consider cutting the hours of city workers from August through November.

This was met by a lot of opposition from department heads, including Fire Chief Mike Taylor and Police Chief Rickey Crook.

Taylor and Crook both explained the importance of not losing man hours on their shifts, and how vital the service both fire fighters and police officers provide are to the well being and safety of the city.

They both explained the liabilities the city could incur, if public servants were injured as a result of being inadequately staffed.

Council voted on cutting the hours and the motion did not pass.

Although there were no major changes regarding budget shortfalls, council agreed to have department heads cut as much as possible in an effort to save money.

Many departments have already cut their spending.

Everyone agreed more revenue in the form of taxes, such as an advertising and promotions tax, increased millage, or a city sales tax, were ways in which the city revenue could be increased.

Council voted to place a sales tax initiative on the ballot, but many realize if the tax passes, the results would not be immediate.

Council concurred that being very careful through the year and making cuts for 2012 was the answer to assisting in balancing the budget.

The Cherokee Village City Council meets the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The public is always invited to these meetings.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: