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City council reviews finances

Staff writer

During the past two weeks, Peabody City Councilman Tom Schmidt and City Administrator Mac Manning have reviewed the city’s funds as 2009 winds down. They made a presentation Monday night to council members.

“There is not a lot of wiggle room,” Schmidt said, “but all of the department heads have done a good job of keeping an eye on their budgets. Each department is under projected expenditures so far for the year.”

Schmidt reviewed revenue and expenses for sewer, water, and refuse and the council looked at what the projected year-end amounts would likely be.

“One thing our department heads must realize is that just because the money was budgeted, it doesn’t mean they are required to use it,” Manning said. “The council needs to impress upon them that a couple of crisis issues could wipe out what little reserve we have.”

Up for discussion was a $20,000 generator factored into the final phase of upgrades for the new city shop. While council members admit it would be a plus for the community if there is another ice storm or similar disaster, the money is not available now.

The generator would allow the city shop to operate as a command center and provide shelter to residents if needed.

“It’s the right thing to do and we need to do it,” Schmidt said. “We just don’t have the funds right now. The cash just isn’t going to be available for this for awhile.”

Manning will seek information on less expensive alternatives and report back at the next meeting.

In other business:

  • Health and Safety Officer Tammy Whiteside was unable to attend the meeting. In her place, Mayor Larry Larsen reported that one of two houses and an old grocery store building on North Sycamore Street that were owned by Ernie and Maxine Seibel had been deeded to the school district. The buildings were razed Monday. The fate of the remaining house and garage on the alley will be addressed in the spring.
  • A $50 donation was approved for the Marion County Toy Run.
  • Based on a recommendation by Peabody Economic Development Committee, the city agreed to turn over maintenance, upgrades, and hosting of the city’s Web site to iGov. The company markets itself to small towns and bases its service on a community’s population. The cost to the city would be less than $1,000 per year.
  • Councilwoman Pam Lamborn requested the topic of tagging cats be placed on the agenda for discussion before the 2010 tagging period. She is opposed to tagging cats because tags do not remain on the animals. She wants pet owners to continue to vaccinate their cats regularly, but feels the purchase of a tag is a waste of money and resources. After discussion, changes to the ordinance failed for lack of a motion.
  • Peabody Main Street and Peabody Economic Development Committee Director Shane Marler gave an update on activities of those groups. The large sign on U.S. 50 will be erected this month and the development committee is considering adding one on the west side town.
  • Marler noted the Sleepy Creek Concert Series ended for the season, but the event generated positive comments, made good use of downtown resources, and will be on the calendar again for 2010.
  • Peabody Main Street is working with the American Legion on façade renovation. New “Shop Peabody” cards have been ordered and should be in soon and the newly designed Peabody Bucks have gone to the printer. Peabody’s Christmas event will take place Dec. 5. It will be scaled back considerably, Marler said.
  • The development committee is reviewing minimum maintenance requirements for downtown buildings.
  • Larsen also reported he had a complaint from bowling alley owner Curtis McBride that the sign in the middle of the intersection at Second and Walnut streets had directional signs on it for a two-day auction held Friday and Saturday. Discussion about sign usage followed, but no decision was reached.
  • Council members rejected a request for a $15 per trip stipend for Whiteside to take animals to Marion after they are picked up. Whiteside receives an hourly wage and has a gas card to cover the cost of fuel.
  • Manning announced that the new swimming pool cover arrived and is ready to be installed to protect the pool during winter months.
  • Manning reported that he will be ordering an energy study for city buildings to reduce waste and save money on utilities.
  • Also up for review by the city administrator are personnel rules that regulate benefits to city employees. Sick leave, personal days of leave, and vacation time will be reviewed. Manning will make a presentation to the council before the first of the year.

Last modified Oct. 14, 2009

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