Council begins budget talk

Published 11:10 am Friday, November 15, 2013

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship wasn’t complaining when the Oct. 24 city council meeting lasted all of five minutes.

“We need to enjoy these short meetings,” he said. “Come January it feels like we live (in the City Center).”

Blankenship was alluding to the looming budget-making process, which reared its head at Thursday’s regular council meeting. Blankenship said he has supplied the members of council with a temporary budget for 2014.

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“I looked it over and it looks like a good budget,” Aaron Bollinger, council member, said. “It would be good if we could get our budget in place as early as possible.”

Bollinger was the lone member of council’s finance committee present at the meeting and suggested the temporary budget as well as two of the ordinances on the meeting’s agenda be put before the finance committee for review. The next meeting of the finance committee could not be set, however, because two of the committee members were absence.

Ordinances 13-71 and 13-72 both authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with E.L. Robinson Engineering Company Inc.; 13-71 in regard to the riverfront docks project and 13-72 in regard to design of the Ironton Mastin Avenue/South Ironton sewer separation phase IV project.

An issue arose after ordinance 13-73 had its first reading, which called for council’s next regular meeting to be rescheduled since it is currently set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28, which is Thanksgiving Day.

Bollinger made the motion to suspend the rules and adopt the ordinance, but was informed by City Solicitor Mack Anderson that six council members must be present in order to suspend the rules and adopt an ordinance after its first reading. With council member Kevin Waldo still recovering from illness and vice mayor Michael Lutz also absent, council did not have the ability to suspend the rules and adopt the ordinance.

Council ultimately scheduled two special meetings on consecutive days in an effort to adopt ordinance 13-73 and avoid conflict with Thanksgiving.

The ordinance states the Thursday, Nov. 28, meeting would be changed to Monday, Nov. 25. Because council was unable to suspend the rules and approve the ordinance, a special meeting was suggested for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18. Council member Dave Frazer notified council he could not attend a special meeting on the 18th because of a scheduling conflict.

Bollinger suggested 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, for the special meeting with another special meeting immediately following. The first meeting would be for the ordinances to have second readings and the second meeting for subsequent adoption.

“You can’t have two readings of the same ordinance on the same day,” Anderson told council. “Only three members need to present to call a special meeting, so you can schedule them right now.”

A special meeting of council is now set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, and 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, with possible adoption of ordinances 13-71, 13-72, 13-73 and approval of a temporary budget on both days.

Blankenship informed council that an organizational meeting to swear-in newly and re-elected council members, name council’s chairperson and determine committee assignments will be at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Resolution 13-70, authorizing and directing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Columbia Gas Company and declare an emergency, was approved.