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Peabody mill levy drops

Staff writer

Peabody city administrator Jeff Benbrook reviewed the final draft of the 2009 budget Monday evening with Mayor Ed Slocombe and three of the five council members.

Local tax property owners should note the city’s mill levy decreased by 2.5 mills.

After a year of tight budget issues caused by skimpy cash reserves left after the mercury remediation project at the former sewer plant, there was little to initially indicate the city might actually get a budget with some wiggle room in 2009.

However an increase in the ad valorem tax provided enough extra funds to cushion city spending for the next year.

Benbrook was able to increase budgeted amounts across the board: five percent cost of living increase for all employees, five percent increase in contracted services, 10 percent increase in commodities, allowance of 12 percent if health insurance premiums take a jump, and no reduction in manpower or current services.

Most funds even will have a cash reserve to help in an emergency.

The budget is published on page 11 in this edition of the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin. The annual budget hearing will be held at the Aug. 11 meeting.

Another item before the council that will result in unexpected revenue was a proposal from Union Pacific Railroad to close one of the crossings adjacent to Plum Street.

After representatives from the railroad viewed the crossings with city officials, an offer was made to give the city $40,000 in exchange for closing either the Seventh or Eighth street crossing.

Based on established practice of moving traffic to Eighth Street if the underpass floods or there is a problem on U.S.-50, the city elected to close Seventh Street.

Kansas Department of Transportation will make an undetermined financial contribution to the project as well.

In other business, the council:

  • postponed until Aug. 25 a decision on the status of a motorized scooter Tracy Kemper would like to use to get to and from work on city streets. After considerable discussion with police chief Bruce Burke and review of definitions provided by the state of various types of conveyance, council decided to wait until a duplicate owner’s manual arrives from the manufacturer.
  • reviewed the state’s Standard Traffic Ordinance which council adopts annually in August. Burke noted that some local regulations were removed from city ordinances in August 2007 because the state intended to make changes and include them as law. However, the state did not make the changes. In order for Burke and his officers to enforce the ordinances they need to be included in the city’s regulations.
  • reviewed a tiered curfew ordinance from the city of Hillsboro for possible implementation here. Burke said it will effect children 15 and younger who will have to be home by 10 p.m. Also in the works is a “pit bull ordinance.” Both are being reviewed by the city attorney and will be presented at a future meeting for council approval.
  • approved a request from municipal swimming pool director Beth Peter to keep the pool open weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. after school starts Aug. 14. The pool will maintain regular weekend hours and will close for the season after Labor Day.
  • approved an expenditure from the police budget for a 2009 calendar featuring photos of local law enforcement officers.
  • accepted the resignation of Marvin Lirley as animal control officer and approved the appointment of Tammy Whiteside to the position in addition to her duties as health and safety officer.
  • approved an increase in charges levied by municipal court for trial fees and probation fees. Basic court costs will remain at $85.
  • entered into executive session for the purpose of discussing attorney/client privilege. No action was taken on return to open meeting.
  • discussed and postponed until after the first of the year, a decision to complete the interior of the new city shop.
  • heard that Mayor Slocombe and councilman Steve Rose accompanied Jim Ralston of APAC Paving on a tour of city streets. Ralston will return to a council meeting with information on lowering and paving Eighth Street from Maple to Sycamore and lowering, narrowing, and paving Pine Street between Fifth and Seventh streets.
  • heard from interim Main Street director Shane Marler that a still photo and video shoot took place Sunday evening downtown for a documentary that will use Peabody as the backdrop for advertising and promotional materials. Preston and Lisa Hodges, Tom and Tina Spencer, and Chris and Jennifer Young and their families all were part of the filming process.
  • postponed until Aug. 11 a decision on bids for installation of heating units at the new city shop, a decision on sewer repair between Plum and Locust streets, and a decision on the purchase or lease-purchase of two trucks for public works.

Last modified July 31, 2008

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