City begins work on budget

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The Madisonville City Council is looking for just more than $400,000 to balance next year’s budget, even after extensive cuts were made by City Manager Camilla Viator.

Council members at Monday’s meeting directed Viator to negotiate with city department heads to find the additional funds, while delaying projects and hiring to help the shortfall.

Viator said that with sales tax revenue down from previous years, and additional street repair being done that was not budgeted, it left the city with a shortfall.

Other areas for cutting included delaying for another year construction of a new city hall, leaving one of the four Police Department positions unfunded, and further cuts to street repairs were also discussed.

Viator offered to take reduced pay as well.

Council Member Russell Bailey said that he did not want to see the residents of the city lose essential services, but there were some hard choices that needed to be made.

Mayor Bill Parten said he would like to see a balanced budget presented to the council for approval.

“We can be smarter in management and do without a (police officer), or we can go back into the fund balance again,” Parten said. “We don’t want to keep doing that, though.”

The city also discussed instituting an ordinance which would directly impact garage sales.

Parten said a particular problem in the city is signs related to garage sales, and those not being disposed of after the sale is over.

Bailey said he would like to see a sign ordinance instead of an ordinance dictating how property owners should behave on their own property.

“We do need to have a city-defendable definition of what a garage sale is,” Bailey said. “It’s not every week. That’s not the spirit of a garage sale; that’s just the day you happen to be open for a retail business.”

No action was taken.

In other business, the city:

•approved the annual audit, which was presented with unmodified opinion;

•approved an ordinance which establishes rules and regulations for the use of city parks; and

•appointed Etta Spivey to the Building Standards Commission.

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