NEWS HEADLINES

Council to talk budget, look at annexation policy

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, August 24, 2013

When the Decatur City Council meets Monday afternoon, the 2013-2014 city budget will be the first item on the agenda.

In a workshop beginning at 4:30, council members will discuss the city’s capital budget plans, health care, the cost of living and the possibility of additional personnel.

Those topics will be aired prior to a 6 p.m. public hearing on the budget and tax rate.

The hearing is the first of two required by state law. The second will be Sept. 3 after which the budget and tax rate will be adopted for the coming fiscal year.

At its last meeting Aug. 12, the council approved a proposed tax rate of 70 cents – up from 66.3 cents this year – but likely will be able to lower that when they see the final budget.

The budget had not been finalized at that time because two significant items had not been firmed up: the cost of employee health insurance, and what the city might be asked to contribute to the hiring of additional campus security officers for Decatur ISD campuses.

Insurance will be on Monday’s agenda, and the school board’s budget did not fund additional school resource officers.

The city’s new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

Monday, the council will also hear reports from the Planning, Public Works and Fire departments. Planning Director Dedra Ragland will distribute the proposed annexation policy and a proposed schedule for the workshop and public hearing required to put it into effect.

Public Works Director Earl Smith will report on the city’s 2012 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, water watch, mosquito spraying, construction and the projects of a variety of city crews. He will also offer an update on rainfall, the status of Lake Bridgeport and the zebra mussel problem.

Fire Chief Mike Richardson will report on his department’s operations prior to the start of the regular meeting at 6 p.m.

After the hearing on the budget and tax rate, the council is expected to approve the budget for the Decatur Economic Development Corp.

The meetings are held at City Hall, 201 E. Walnut, and are open to the public.

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