In May 15-21 issue By Greg Wells Times Journal Managing Editor
JAMESTOWN - At a special called budget workshop Monday night, the city council addressed the rising cost of fuel and other supplies, as well as pay raises.
Mayor Brooks Bates started off by saying he was recommending a 2-percent cost of living increase, based on the same percentage approved for teachers and state workers.
It was suggested that the mayor and council could forego a raise if it could mean a 3-percent hike for the workers.
Bates pointed out that they all made so little that the 2-percent added to their pay totaled less than $500, and that wouldn't be anywhere near enough to change the percentage given to the city's workers.
Bates said the cost of fuel was impacting the public works and police departments' budgets adding 40- to 50-percent to those line items.
Bates suggested that it could be more cost effective to pay more overtime and employ only five police officers rather than the six presently on the payroll.
He said the city's net gain would be around $33,000 a year. Councilman George Ralph Garr said that the reason the city had decided to approve the sixth officer in the past was in-part a liability issue relating to the city's need to field two officers during high demand times.
It was suggested that the police chief's input would be needed for that decision and Mike Keaton was called to the meeting.
"We do have a big drug problem in Jamestown," Keaton told the council. He said eliminating an officer would seriously reduce the amount of time the department could devote to address this problem.
He added that the members of the department have worked especially hard to keep overtime to a minimum since gaining a sixth officer and that has been a savings for the city.
Bates said he had presented the figures only as something the council needed to consider, and the matter was dropped.
City Clerk Kim Weston outlined the additions to the city's budget for the various departments for increasing fuel prices with about a 30 percent increase for next year.
She told the council that the carry-over from this year is projected to be $539,768.
The total expenditure for next year was budget at $958,213 and the $919,850 in projected revenue was based on same revenue as this year's.
Many years the increase in property valuations in the county has meant an increase in revenue for the various taxing agencies while the tax rates went down or remained the same.
In the utilities department Weston said there should be a reduction in costs, with the elimination of a temporary filtration plant and the cost associated with it, once the addition is completed at the water plant.
Extensive repairs to the water tank on Bernard Ridge is expected to cost $168,000.
"That was a real ouch," Weston added.
It is also possible that work will be needed on sewer plant but that has not been included in the budgeted at this point, Weston said.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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