Peabody City Council approved the 2011 budget Monday with a property tax decrease, albeit a small decrease.
The public hearing to answer taxpayer objections to the 2011 budget drew only two comments from an interested citizen. Jim Rippe asked about a line item in the water operating and sewer operating budgets. Each category has an annual expenditure of personal services and each department budgets more than $100,000 to those expenses.
“I’m a little confused as to what ‘personal services’ might mean and why so much money is allotted for them,” he said.
Councilman Tom Schmidt told Rippe that “personal services” is a catch-all term the municipality takes from state budget forms.
“The city is required to use the same designation the state uses on these forms,” he said. “The items in this category are salaries, benefits, FICA, KPERS, and so on.”
No additional comments or objections were made and the city council closed the public hearing and opened the regularly scheduled council meeting. The council unanimously accepted the 2011 budget for $4,102, 532. That represents a mill levy of 72.386 mills.
In other business:
- Mayor Larry Larsen noted the death of City Administrator Mac Manning’s 17-year-old grandson in a vehicle accident Aug. 6 near Emporia. Manning will return to work on Thursday.
- Planning and zoning board member Rippe asked Larsen to appoint additional members to the board. Larsen said he had one confirmed volunteer and two others he thought would agree to serve.
- Ron Young requested a water meter at his property on Ninth Street be moved. The meter is on the south side of Ninth and Young’s property is on the north side. Larsen volunteered to meet with Public Works Director Darren Pickens to review the situation and determine the logistics of moving it.
- A presentation on the monthly charges for mailing the city water bills and newsletter was tabled until the next meeting due to the absence of Manning.
- An application for use of street barricades Aug. 29 by Peabody United Methodist Church was approved. Third Street will be blocked from Sycamore to the alley just west of the church.
- Larsen reviewed the status of the ambulance service in Peabody. As with many volunteer services, the ambulance is sometimes under-staffed and an ambulance from Florence or Marion must be called. The council discussed options, but reached no decision.
- Health and Safety officer Tammy Whiteside presented an update on mowing violations.
The next meeting will be 7 p.m. Aug. 23.