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Council prepares to adopt budget

The end of 2014 means a lot of talk about next year’s budget among city leaders.

At Thursday’s regular Ironton Council meeting steps were taken to ensure the city’s tax documents and permanent and temporary budgets were adopted within the required timeframe.

“We have a lot to get passed before the end of the year,” Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship, said. “There will be quite a bit on the next agenda.”

If enough members are absent, council can’t suspend the rules and adopt ordinances. Council can, however, hear three readings and adopt ordinances even with some members not present. It is for this reason Vice Mayor Kevin Waldo has scheduled a special finance committee meeting for 5:15 p.m. Wednesday followed by special council meetings at 5:30, 5:45 and 6 p.m., if necessary. Council had previously rescheduled its second regular meeting for Monday, Dec. 22.

“The fear is whether on the 22nd there will be enough here to give these ordinances anything other than a first reading,” Aaron Bollinger, council member, said. “We could run into having to come in here toward the end of the year to get things passed.”

Blankenship said the week of Dec. 22 being the week of Christmas is the concern with regard to absenteeism.

“(Ironton Finance Director Kristen Martin) has to finalize the tax documents and budgets before Dec. 31,” he said. “That’s the main point of the special meetings. We should be able to pass everything by the first of the year, which we are required to do.”

Council member Bob Cleary stated if enough council members show up for the first special meeting on Wednesday the two subsequent special meetings would not have to happen.

“We’re concerned people aren’t going to show up,” he said.

With council members Beth Rist and Dave Frazer absent, only one of the five ordinances on Thursday’s agenda was adopted.

Ordinance 14-42, closing a portion of Market Street, was adopted after its third reading.

Ordinance 14-33, executing a collective bargaining agreement between the city and the International Association Firefighters, had its first reading.

According to the ordinance, all contract language remains the same as the previous year except for three items: a 4 percent wage increase; a $625 signing bonus paid by Dec. 15; and a 2.5 percent pension pick, which eliminates the city’s portion.

Ordinance 14-46 executing a quitclaim deed or other appropriate document on behalf of the city relinquishing a certain reversionary clause set forth in Lawrence County official record volume 650, page 490 had its first reading.

In the recorded deed the city of Ironton conveyed parcels of the Ro-Na building with a reversionary clause giving those parcels back to the city in the event a minimum of $3 million had not been invested.

Ordinance 14-47, authorizing the city to enter into a contract with the Ironton Metropolitan Housing Authority for police protection, was given its first reading as was ordinance 14-48 authorizing the mayor to award bids for concrete in 2015.