City finances was the main topic of discussion at Monday's Helena-West Helena City Council Session as Mayor Arnell Willis presented his 2014 budget following two weeks of budget workshops.
City finances was the main topic of discussion at Monday's Helena-West Helena City Council Session as Mayor Arnell Willis presented his 2014 budget following two weeks of budget workshops. The 2014 budget projects a total revenue of $9,832,091 compared to $9,788,198 in the 2013 budget. The projected expenses amount to $9,481,395 compared to 2013's $9,609,846. Though the budget was officially presented to the city council, adjustments will be made and the final budget will be presented by January 31. In his monthly treasurer's report, Patrick Roberson told the council that the city's income was $712,000 over the past month and expenses totaled to $776,000. Among the reoccurring expenses to the city includes maintenance on an aging fleet of city vehicles. Of the $47,000 spent last month in repairs, $12,000 repaired sanitation vehicles. Roberson also noted that the city owed as much as $19,000 in October in auto parts, including $9,173 in parts to maintain and repair police cars and $10,617 to maintain and repair sanitation vehicles. Council member Wanda Crockett asked Police Chief Uless Wallace about the large repair bill on his fleet of police cars. "Just this month we had to buy two transmissions [and] I have a car that has exceeded 200,000 miles,” said Wallace. Another topic discussed included the amending of a previous resolution giving a deferred pay incentive for part-time city employees. The existing resolution gives incentive pay to all city employees that have worked with the city at least six months. The amendment passed Monday night pushed the time limit to three months to include seven employees previously excluded. Regarding the much-needed repairs on the Kentucky Street bridge, councilman John Huff noted, "Those people are suffering over there and we need to get this bridge fixed...if someone gets sick over there, the ambulance will have to detour, someone's house could catch on fire and the fire department will have to detour. Let's get the bridge fixed." Crockett followed up by notifying the council that the barricades had been removed from the bridge site and citizens are using the unsafe bridge now. Fire Chief Reginald Wilson approached the city council regarding the issue of adding a front line pumper to the fire department's fleet. He noted that the price tag is $1.1 million of which will be paid through a FEMA grant, including a $146,000 match from someone in the community. The council approved the purchase and the disposal of an out-of-commission fire truck. The next City Council meeting will be December 17 at 6 p.m.