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Obion officials support budget; no property tax hikes in proposal

Obion officials support budget; no property tax hikes in proposal
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A new city budget has been approved on the first of two readings in Obion, with no property tax increase for Obion residents.
The existing $1.65 property tax rate remains unchanged in Obion’s 2013-14 budget, which was presented at Monday night’s Obion City Council meeting.
The three-page budget ordinance will come up for second and final approval at a called meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday at Obion City Hall.
Obion’s budget is broken down into seven funds, with $1,914.382 in projected revenues matched up against $1,204,162 in expenses for the upcoming fiscal year.
If the proposed budget passes its second and final reading next week, it will leave the city with a $710,220 fund balance at the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year. The new fiscal year begins July 1 in Obion.
Preliminary approval of the new city budget came during a 45-minute council meeting Monday night. A brief public hearing on the budget was held prior to the council meeting.
Also during the council’s June session, a new employee pay scale was approved by the council, new Police Chief Keith Ozment was appointed city court clerk and a committee was formed to look into Rose Hill Cemetery.
The new employee pay scale is unchanged from last year, it was announced at the meeting.
Council member Patsy Barker was named chairman of the committee that will look into the costs to maintain Rose Hill Cemetery, located on the north side of town.
“We losing money every year in Rose Hill Cemetery,” Mayor Rodney Underwood said at the meeting. “There’s money in there, but it’s dwindling fast.”
He reported there is about $5,000 in the Rose Hill Cemetery account and an additional $10,000 in a CD, but the cost to maintain the cemetery runs about $7,000 a year. Mrs. Barker will work with council members Gracie Ashley and Polk Glover to look into options to cut costs or raise revenue for the cemetery fund.
In other action Monday night, the council:
• Decided against a request to clear out a ditch at Sue Caruthers’ property on the west side of town, but did vote to mow six to eight vacant properties owned by Habitat for Humanity, at no charge to the non-profit organization. The vote to do the free mowing of the Habitat lots was 5-2, with council members Ms. Ashley and Bob Anderson voting against the motion. Council members Mrs. Barker, Underwood, Glover, James Depriest and Mike Miller voted for the motion. It was estimated mowing the lots cost $120 per mowing and the lots are mowed about once a month. The city had mowed the lots at no charge last summer.
• Agreed to have the mayor seek a legal opinion about how to deal with damaged sections of sidewalk around town. There is a question about who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalks, and for the potential removal of the sidewalks.
• Agreed to a $530 annual contract with CAM Electric to handle maintenance of the city’s two generators.
“I really thought it was going to be higher than that,” Underwood said.
• Agreed to advertise for a new police officer for the city. The city currently has a police chief and two patrol officers.
• Was updated on several projects at the Obion Volunteer Fire Department. Fire Chief B.J. Cohn said $500 will be spent to get four first responders recertified — Cohn, David Tidwell, Susie Evans and Josh Holdeman.
Cohn also announced $550 will be spent to have the pumps tested on the fire department’s trucks. The testing will be done by Bob Dudley of Greenfield.
The fire chief went on to inform the council he will be attending a two-day fire chief training class in Milan later this month and said he is also working on securing a helipad in Obion.
“Everything you’ve mentioned is in the budget, so I don’t think we have to take any action,” Mrs. Barker said.
There was a large turnout of firefighters who attended Monday night’s meeting with Cohn.
• Was informed by the mayor that a Tennessee Municipal League class is being scheduled for job discrimination training.
The class will be held for council members, department heads and city employees.
• Approved an ordinance establishing the 2014 schedule of long-term debt.
Monday night’s meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Underwood and a prayer led by Depriest.
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Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.5.13

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