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Monday, June 6, 2016

Calm before the storm--Budget changes decided Thursday night in council work session.

The Crossville city council met in work session last week and worked on trying to finalize the budget leading up to the public hearing and second reading set for June 9.

At the start of the work session, the budget stood at $557,000 in the red and after going through the budget, cutting all donations to non-profit outside agencies to save some $18,405 then adding some projects back into the budget the final count left the budget at around $1.1 million in the hole. The city has a large rainy day fund of some $13 million that would easily cover the estimated budget deficit.

Non-profit donations were cut by ten percent across the board. Councilman Jesse Kerley proposed cutting the donations of all agencies but the Fair Park Senior Center and the TAD Center but other council members felt that was not fair and that all should be cut the same.

Some of the items that had been previously removed but added back by the council include one additional detective for the police department at a cost of around $50,000. Chief Rod Shoap told the council that additional employees will help the department be able to improve and his priority was to have an additional detective first followed by two patrol officers. Council members Danny Wyatt, Pete Souza and Pam Harris indicated support for the addition of one detective to the budget.

Uniforms for the fire department were added back to the budget at $15,000, medical supplies for the first responder program added an additional $2,500 and training costs of were increased by $5,500. Chief Mike Turner said that the department had non had new uniforms in 2 years as it had been removed from the last two budgets. New defibrillators and one of two requested generators for the fire stations were not included in the budget. Medical director Dr. Mark Fox spoke in favor of the medical supplies and defibrillators and chief Turner said without power the doors to the fire station had to be raised by hand slowing their response time when the power was out.

Council left some funding in the budget for hiring one of the retail consultants that the council heard from last month. The amount originally budgeted was reduced based on the information the council learned during the presentations.

Rather than lease poles for the Warner complex, the council discussed and supported outright purchase of metal poles at a total cost of $374,000. A playground to be located at Meadow Park Lake added an additional $25,000 to the budget.


Council discussed the downtown sidewalk project and appeared to be moving away from what some feel is a more costly option to hire a contractor to do the sidewalks. Council members Danny Wyatt and Jesse Kerley are proposing that the work be done piecemeal by city employees. Kevin Music with the street department is proposing adding a concrete crew to do the work and added that there was enough sidewalk and concrete work to keep a crew busy. Council is waiting to get information from city engineer Tim Begley on costs before making a final decision.   

After the meeting broke up the incident between council members Kerley and Souza took place.  During some of the budget discussion, the two council members glared at each other several times during the meeting and Kerley took issue with Mayor James Mayberry's support of the downtown sidewalks claiming his business would benefit from the project.

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