At Monday night’s bi-monthly City Council meeting the 2019-2020 $18 million budget for the city was approved.
For months, City Auditor Theresa Kelly and City Administrator Darin Chappell have been working alongside council members and city staff to get the budget approved. In recent workshop meetings all of the details of the budget were discussed, making for an easy 3-0 vote on Monday to pass the budget.
The budget includes funds for an upgraded city website, seven new tablets for city council members, mayor and city administrator for use during council meetings, five new police cars and a small ladder truck for the fire department. The budget also includes a 3 percent cost of living raise for all full-time city employees, the salary of a newly hired 911 dispatcher, the purchase of a $41,000 recorder for city dispatch, a new part-time police officer position and $70,000 in purchases of new equipment for the street department.
“I think it is important for residents to understand that just a few weeks ago there was five of the eight police cars sitting up at Ford waiting to have work done on them,” First Ward Councilman Dennis Albertson said.
Kelly said that maintaining the current police department vehicles, in just the last year, has cost the city twice what was budgeted.
During the meeting, Kelly noted $4 million of the budget is projected for the runway at the airport.
In other action, the City Council approved allowing a carnival to come to Simpson Park July 5-7. Crystal Narr, executive director of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard from a number of residents about the desire to bring a carnival back to town.
“This is a fun, new and exciting thing for the entire community,” she said. “We felt the ability to get a carnival here, especially during Sliced Bread Day events, would be great timing.”
The council approved 3-0 to allow Toby’s Carnival, Inc., out of Marceline to set up the event this summer in Simpson Park. The carnival will coincide with Slice Bread Day and Freedom Festival. Narr noted that the event will not be a full 30-ride carnival.
The council also approved hiring Patriot Mowing to do needed mowing on nuisance properties and parks, as need throughout town this summer. The local company was the lowest bidder.
Roze Frampton, city clerk, noted that most times hired mowing services do not have to do park lawn mowing, but instead keep up with yards when they are placed on the nuisance list. Frampton noted that once grass is seven inches tall it is considered a nuisance, and if the city must step-in to have the grass cut, the landowner is responsible for paying the bill.