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Mike Maddock, General Manager
2009-05-22 / Government / Neighborhood

West Columbia City Council holds special meeting May 18

By Benjamin Higgins

Call to order

Mayor Bobby E. Horton called the special meeting of the West Columbia City Council to order at 6:01 pm on Monday, May 18, 2009. All members of council, except Councilwoman Cathy Shannon, were present: Mayor Bobby E. Horton, Mayor Pro- Tem Tommy G. Parler, Eric L. Fowler, L. Dale Harley, Jack L. Harmon, Boyd J. Jones, Marsha Moore, and B.J. Unthank.

Announcements by Mayor

The mayor reminded council and the public that there would be no planning commission meeting, due to the Memorial Day holiday.

New business

First reading unanimous approval was given to an ordinance annexing .17 acres of property located at 721 N. Brown Street into the city.

A sole source bid to repair the roof of the centrifuge building at the Lake Murray Water Treatment Plant was approved unanimously.

Budget work session

City Administrator Jennifer T. Cunningham presented the budget to council. Cunningham noted in her presentation that expenses of $12,975,000 were balanced to projected revenues of the same amount, $12,975,000. Cunningham listed several ways the city generates revenue: property taxes, business licenses and fees, state rebates, hydrant fees, permit fees, transfers, and grant funds. Cunningham also noted that the budget has increased 7% from the previous year's budget of $12,125,000.

In addition to discussion on various budget line items, council considered two recommendations from Cunningham. Initially, Cunningham proposed that council eliminate the city's tuition reimbursement fund. This fund is used to help city employees pay for college and requires them to work for the city one year after the completion of their degree. Council overwhelmingly felt the tuition reimbursement fund should be not eliminated.

However, council suggested the guidelines for the fund could be adjusted. Council felt that the city should limit the number of city employees who use the fund each year. Council members also agreed that the minimum time of service to the city upon completion of a degree should be increased. Cunningham and city staff will act on these requests by council.

Cunningham's second recommendation was to discontinue the city's commercial garbage service, effective December 31, 2009. The December 31 deadline would allow businesses time to find other organizations to dispose of their garbage. Council agreed with Cunningham's recommendation.

Following discussion on several line items in the budget, the mayor noted his disappointment that West Columbia cut city staff raises. However, no layoffs or furloughs are expected.

Cunningham noted that the city's health insurance and retirement benefits are still great reasons to work for the city.

The public hearing on the budget will be June 2, 2009 at 6 pm. Cunningham urged council members to look over line items and make any suggestions to city staff.

Thecouncil adjourned the budget work session at 7:01 pm.

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