By KEVIN BOWDEN
There will be no property tax increase this year for Obion residents. The city’s $1.55 property tax rate remains the same under a new 2011-12 city budget that was unanimously approved on the first of two readings Monday night.
The second and final reading of the city budget will come at a called meeting next Monday at 7 p.m.
The Obion City Council went through the new budget during a brief public hearing Monday night and then the council approved the spending plan during a 40-minute meeting in City Hall.
Nine city residents turned out for the public hearing, but there were no comments made.
The Obion budget shows $1,983,237 in revenues and $1,413,516 in expenses, leaving the city with a fund balance of $569,721.
The 2011-12 budget relies heavily on fund balances and was drafted with help from the state’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service. The city’s spending plan is broken down into seven funds.
Also during Monday night’s meeting, Obion Fire Chief Jamie Evans was authorized to work with city attorney Roger Fisher to remove a resident of Oak Ridge Road from the city’s rural fire protection plan.
Evans informed the council his firefighters responded to a tractor fire on Oct. 8 west of Obion and arrived on the scene in 19 minutes, only to be threatened and harassed.
“This can’t be allowed,” Evans said. “This is unacceptable behavior.”
During the meeting, Evans identified the property owner as Jimmy Gwaltney. He later notified The Messenger that he incorrectly identified the individual who allegedly threatened firefighters responding to a tractor fire on Oak Ridge Road.
“I gave the wrong name of the property owner at the board meeting Monday night,” Obion Fire Chief Jamie Evans told The Messenger Friday. “Mr. Jimmy Gwaltney’s wife did dial 911 and say a combine was on fire in the field, but the combine and property belonged to Larry Tucker. Eric Tucker was the person who threatened the firefighters.
“I had a visit from Mr. Gwaltney and he explained the entire situation to me,” Evans said. “I apologize for the wrong information and I would like to apologize to Mr. Gwaltney.”
The fire chief said he was pleased with his department’s response time to the rural fire, but said the tractor owner was apparently irritated with the response time and became combative with firefighters.
“I’ll take care of it,” Evans said.
In other action, the council:
• Unanimously approved a recommendation from Mayor Glen Parnell to spend up to $9,000 for new Christmas lights for the city. The council will use a portion of the insurance settlement from the former city hall building to pay for the lights.
• Approved spending $250 for the city’s annual dinner for firefighters.
• Agreed to a $500 payment from Buddy Laster, who is clearing out a site in town for a new Verizon cellphone tower and will be allowed to use the city dump to handle debris from the work site.
• Will seek bids to remove steel beams from the former city hall building.
• Was given an update by Public Works Director Randy Evans on various Public Works projects going on across town. During his report, the council voted to accept a bid of $3,740 to blacktop the bridge on the east side of the town ballpark. The bid was submitted by Dugger Paving of Troy and, weather permitting, the work is expected to be completed by the end of this week, according to Randy Evans.
• Approved the second and final reading for an ordinance setting the city’s water and sewer rates.
Monday night’s meeting was opened in prayer by council member James DePriest and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Mayor Glen Parnell.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.18.11