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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
  • Newport Council approves 2013 budget

  • The Newport City Council met Monday night to discuss the proposed 2013 budget.
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  • The total expected beginning cash and revenue is $5,776,482. Total expenses for 2013 are expected at $5,627,195.
    Most department budgets were in line with 2012 with a few exceptions.
    "All salaries contain a three percent cost of living increase," explained Newport Mayor David Stewart.
    The Administration department (Clerk-Treasurer office) seen an increase of approximately $30,000 due to a pension fund for former clerk-Treasurer Linda Treadway, a promotion for Angela McKissac to Deputy City Clerk and extra travel and training funds so City Clerk Debbie Hembrey can take classes which are required.
    In the City Hall and Depot Department, building maintenance was raised from $8,000 to $30,000 which includes $28,000 to replace carpet in City Hall with tile.
    "It's something we needed to do for a long time, were not going to jump up and do all of it at once, but were going to look at trying to do that next year," said Stewart.
    The Fire Department's budget was up approximately $28,000 with most of that going towards a new pickup truck and new equipment for the fire fighters.
    The Police Department was able to cut nearly $20,000 compared to 2012 by cutting a vacant position.
    "He (Chief Michael Scudder) cut one patrol position that we've been putting in the budget for several years, we didn't cut anybody, we just cut the position we hadn't been able to fill," Stewart explained.
    Stewart stressed that no officer had been cut, simply a vacant position that is usually budgeted was not this time around.
    Two notable discrepancies lie in the Residential and Commercial Sanitation departments. An extra $21,000 was budgeted in order to pay for a new piece of PAK RAT equipment for the residential side. $30,000 was budgeted for a new commercial garbage truck.
    The city pool budget was cut by $40,000 since there was not as much new equipment to purchase next year.
    The parks and recreation department was alloted roughly an extra $50,000 in order to purchase three new riding lawnmowers, add seating on the softball field and add new playground equipment for Lockwood Park. The equipment will be partly reimbursed with a $12,000 grant.
    The Street fund looks to spend about $20,000 more this year in order to repair the front street sidewalks, purchase a new riding lawnmower and purchase a a new trash loader.
    The wastewater treatment plant looks to have a surplus of $480,000. Since most of the sewer lines were rehabilitated last year the city was able to cut a substantial amount in that area.
    Most departments were able to budget for new equipment next year and by doing so were able to cut cost in equipment maintenance for next year and the years to come.
    The council accepted and voted to approve the 2013 expected budget.
    In other business:
    Page 2 of 2 - - The council decided to advertised the vacant alderman position, accept resumes', and discuss the issue further at upcoming council meetings. No date was set as to when to they will appoint someone.

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