Obion finalizes budget, hikes property tax rate

Obion finalizes budget, hikes property tax rate
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Obion has a new 2012-13 budget and new tax rate. Second and final approval of a city ordinance for the budget and a $1.65 property tax rate came during a near 90-minute Obion City Council meeting Monday night.
The new tax rate represents a 10-cent increase over the previous tax rate and several minor increases have been made to water and sewer rates, as well as to utility deposits.
The budget and tax rate were unanimously approved by the council, with Mayor Glen Parnell absent from the meeting,
Vice Mayor Polk Glover presided over the meeting, which was dominated by funding requests for various projects.
The council approved a $3,725 bill from A&A Backhoe for clean-up work around town. The council withheld payment of $687.50 from the bill since it was for clean-up of lots in the 700 block of East Main St. and was not approved by the council.
The work was authorized by the mayor, and several members of the council questioned whether he has that authority. The bill will come up for reconsideration at the council’s next meeting.
In a related matter, the council approved giving council member Mike Miller the authority to sign city checks in the absence of the mayor and vice mayor.
“We definitely need to do this,” council member Bob Anderson said.
It was during departmental reports that the council had to open up its checkbook.
Public Works Director Randy Evans presented a lengthy report that included requests for ditch work, pothole repair work and street repairs around town. All his requests were approved by the council.
The council also approved spending $425 for a new cutter nozzle used to clean out drainage pipes, and approved a $1,069 estimate to replace three glass windows in the city’s backhoe. The estimate doesn’t include labor, according to Evans.
Next came funding requests from the Obion Volunteer Fire Department, totaling nearly $7,000 for a new radio, First Responder training and a new fire siren for the public safety building.
“We’re in bad need of more radios,” Fire Chief Donald Bloxom Jr. said Monday night. He said his department’s radios are around 10 years old and within the next year the entire radio system will need to be replaced.
The council agreed to spend up to $500 to replace Bloxom’s malfunctioning radio, with the money coming out of the fire department’s budget.
Approval was also granted to spending $6,091 for a new fire siren. The city’s current siren was described as “unrepairable.”
The new unit will come from Vaughn Electric Co. in Union City. It isn’t known how much it will cost to install the 360-pound unit.
The council also agreed to pay a $285 fee for a firefighter to go through First Responder training.
With all the money spent Monday night, the council is looking into switching contracts for the city’s cellphone service, which it is estimated will save the city about $2,400 a year.
Published in The Messenger 10.2.12

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