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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cave City approves employee raises, still working on budget

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Raises for city employees and Cave City's 2012 annual budget were the main topics of discussion at the January meeting of the Cave City City Council.

The 2012 budget has yet to be approved, due in part to problems with financial records Mayor Daniel Wilson presented to the council at its Jan. 24 meeting. The page was not initially included in the council packets, but copies were made during the meeting.

Members of the city council were given a one page document reflecting changes they had previously discussed. The changes were penciled into the document, with many numbers crossed out, replaced or illegible. Alderman Ron Burge said he would like to have a statement that was easy to read and more detailed than the single page document presented as the final draft of the budget. Burge said, "I do not have enough information here to make an educated decision on this budget." The mayor countered, "I know what it means." Burge replied, "There are six of us here who don't." The mayor then requested the council make a motion regarding the format they desired the document to be in. Burge and other members explained they would like a side by side comparison style budget, as presented in the past. The budget will have to be passed at a Jan. 31 meeting, which was scheduled since the deadline to approve new city budgets is Feb. 1.

Previously, council held a special working meeting to discuss trimming the budget. The fire department was denied an additional fire fighter and a brush truck, cutting its budget $73,478 for the year. Milligan explained his department has been trying to get grants for the truck, but a FEMA grant application was denied.

Alderman Jonas Anderson told council he is currently working on a USDA Rural Development grant. If approved, the department could receive the truck, and all needed supplies to outfit the truck, including striping and turnout gear, which, Milligan said, is 10 years old. Anderson said he would keep the council informed regarding the possible grant.

Some council members expressed concern about spending more than they take in. Alderman Jonas Anderson explained, after speaking with a representative of the municipal league, that the city could spend money if they had a grant that was coming in or other special situations, where money was due the city but not yet received.

The mayor said, in regard to the budget, "It don't matter if you balance it or not, this is a joke, we are wasting our time."

Another discussion centered on financial statements showing the Dec. 2011, bank statement was not balanced. The mayor said, "It is $25,000 off, we have not had enough time to find it yet, we tried but we run out of time with all this other stuff, budgets and all this stuff. This happened during December. I just wanted to call your attention to this, we know it." The mayor added, "We will find it."

In other business, James Mundorff spoke to council to thank the police department for its response to his complaint. Mundorff said he had concerns with speeding on his street where a lot of children play outdoors. The police department, under the direction of Chief Aaron Presser, increased patrols in the neighborhood and curbed the issue.

A Nelsonville couple requested a variance to allow them to keep a FEMA trailer on their property until they can have a prefabricated building delivered. The couple presented drawings of the 500 square foot building.

Fire Chief Ronny Milligan explained the fire code requirements for the building, including windows and two doors for exit purposes. The couple assured him they would have those items installed prior to moving into the building. The variance was granted, allowing the FEMA trailer to remain until September.

Anderson said there was currently not an ordinance governing pre-fabricated buildings within the city, and council discussed the possibility of implementing one in the near future to prevent unsafe structures and mobile storage units from being utilized as housing within the city limits.

Anderson explained allowing this type of structure as a living quarters may set precedence for others, and explained the topic needed to be addressed and a new ordinance drafted.

The city also accepted the bid from Day's Electric in Cave City to replace a faulty heating and air conditioning system within city hall.

Council agreed to move the current air conditioning system off the roof and install a higher efficiency system. The mayor said a portion of the cost of moving the unit off the roof will be covered by a grant the city has received.

During the last working meeting, Chief Aaron Presser discussed the need for a merit and longevity based system for raises in the police department.

The suggestion was not decided at that meeting, as council members had differing opinions on the way to provide employee raises. Burge said everyone should receive the same amount.

Alderman Ed Turnbough explained he was pleased with city employees who agreed to work under tough economical times, and agreed those who serve longer deserve more compensation.

Turnbough added, raises have to be based on what the budget will allow and sometimes the amount the employee deserves and receives are not the same.

Alderman Richard Hawkins supported a "3,2,1.5 Option." Under Hawkin's suggestion, employees earning under $25,000 would receive an annual three percent raise, those making over $25,000 would receive 2.5 percent and those earning over $30,000 would receive a 1.5 percent pay raise. All members of council voted in favor of the "3.2,1.5 Option" raise schedule with the exception of Burge.

The Cave City Council meets in regular session on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. At Cave City City Hall. The public is welcome to attend the meetings.

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