City council to focus on cash woes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

The city budget will be the hot topic during one of the final Ironton City Council meetings of the year — and one plan could cost residents a little extra each month.

There are two budgets set to be discussed at 6 p.m. Thursday. The first is a temporary budget. That plan will allow the city to get through the month of January, giving the city another month to look for a more permanent plan.

One such solution may already be on the horizon.

Email newsletter signup

The other budget on the docket is a permanent one for 2006, put forth by Richard Price. The councilman said that the budget is an amalgamation of ideas discussed during the Dec. 8 meeting of the city finance committee.

“What it basically is, is a compilation of all the council members’ ideas,” Price said. “There were council members who wanted to make cuts before they’d look at a fee increase.”

The hotly debated city municipal fee has reared its head once more, with some crucial differences from the one that was defeated on the November ballot. Council members suggested various denominations and durations for the fee during the Dec. 8 meeting, and Price — in a separate ordinance — has proposed a $5 monthly fee that is a two-year compromise.

“I wasn’t for the fee after the voters voted it down completely, but I do realize that something has to be done,” Price said. “So it takes the fee from a $10 level down to a $5 level.”

The other major difference in the fee is that it would be funneled directly to the police department, and is being referred to as a “municipal fee for public safety.”

Price’s 2006 budget has a few small changes, but also a handful of large adjustments besides the $300,000 projected to be generated by the municipal fee.

If the budget is passed, it would eliminate the city’s parking department — meaning a net savings of around $16,000 — and remove $46,600 in salary from the city engineering department, likely meaning the firing of one employee.

An amendment to the 2005 budget will lead the pack, that amendment will receive its first reading.

Also during the meeting, the council will give first reading to an ordinance that would allow the removal of firewood from the Ironton compost site.

In addition, a first reading will be given that would authorize the mayor to spend funds not exceeding $10,000 to remove sludge from the Ironton Wastewater Treatment Plant.