The city budget hearing to establish the 2017 tax levied on city property owners was brief and scantily attended. Council president Travis Wilson opened the hearing with a request to fellow members to offer any final arguments to the published budget that included a 7.1 mill increase.
Janice Woodruff said she thought the budget could go lower by eliminating the expansion of the court clerk’s position to full time.
There was no additional discussion and Woodruff moved with a second by Tom Spencer to approve a 3.1 mill increase that would not include a full-time court clerk. The motion failed three to two.
Megan Gallucci moved and Steve Rose seconded a motion to increase the budget for the coming year by 5.1 mills. It passed three to one with Gallucci, Rose, and Wilson in favor, Spencer and Woodruff opposed.
The tax rate for Peabody will total 86.1 mills, up from 80.9 for 2016.
In other business:
- Council members heard from Jim Ralston of APAC about proposed street repairs for the current year. After reviewing a map of problem spots, Ralston said he would return Sept. 12 with firm bids for council members to review and make selections for improvements.
- Peabody police chief and council members went into executive session to discuss personnel and on return to open meeting, council approved hiring Aaron Slater of Marion as the new police officer to replace Travis Davis who moved. Slater will receive $16 per hour to start and move to $16.50 per hour after a six-month review and successful completion of police academy training.
- Peggy Phillips and Nancy McLeod presented a request to organize a second annual Scarecrow Festival and Chili Cook-off scheduled for Oct. 8. Council members approved their request.
- Council members went into executive session to discuss personnel and took no action on return to open session.
- Calvin Carr was present to request assistance with an area along his east property line between 9th and 8th Sts. that used to be a ditch but has filled in with silt and vegetation. Since it no longer moves water away from his property, water stands in his yard, garden, and chicken coop. Council instructed Public Works Superintendent Ronnie Harms to investigate a solution to the problem.