Southwest City's board of aldermen brainstormed ways to cut city expenses in order to pay bills during the regular meeting Tuesday.
City Clerk Missy Zinn explained to the council that, when the city received FEMA funds to repair roads, the money was placed into the General Fund but not earmarked for the project. As a result, the council overestimated revenue by $40,000 when making the 2019 budget.
"The middle of the year is always tough, but I've never seen it this tight," Zinn said. She presented the council with the bills to be paid and prioritized which costs are most time-sensitive.
Resident Kenny Brookner asked the council if it was aware before the meeting that the city was unable to pay all the bills that are due. The council unanimously confirmed that it was not aware beforehand.
City Clerk Zinn suggested closing the municipal court and joining courts with another town. This would decrease the cost of a judge and prosecuting attorney and limit the overhead costs of using the Fire Department to hold court.
Court Clerk Daniells Smith said the docket is so small that, by the time the judge, the prosecuting attorney, and the electric bill are paid, the court fees are nearly depleted.
Joining courts would also cut down on the cost of a court clerk in City Hall because court and city clerk duties won't be overlapping.
"I don't want to lose the court but, the way it looks, it would help us out," Zinn said.
After much discussion, the council voted to stop all city sponsorships, cut housekeeping costs, research raising the insurance deductible and require that all departmental purchases be approved by the council. The council also discussed which bills to pay and which to delay.
Fire Chief Shane Clark reported eight medical calls, four motor vehicle accidents and one mutual aid structure fire since the last meeting.
As for the street department, Public Works Director Shane Clark said employees have been busy clearing brush, mowing throughout the city, filling potholes, preparing the park for the Third of July Celebration and cleaning up the park afterward.
Clark noted there are currently four dogs in the city pound, one of which is quarantined due to biting. I'm Your Huckleberry Rescue is scheduled to pick one of them up by the end of the week. The remaining two dogs will be rescued if not claimed by the owner.
Clark said the water department has been busy responding to multiple calls to check water leaks around town. The department is also dealing with a leak at the top of the Broadway water tower that needs to be addressed immediately.
Resident Patty Burrows requested a copy of an engineering report discussed at previous meetings. City Clerk Zinn said she can provide one.
Police Chief Bud Gow reported issuing seven tickets, responding to two motor vehicle accidents and two lockouts, assisting three agencies and filing four reports.
Gow also requested additional lighting around Blankenship Park during events with heavy foot traffic.
City Clerk Zinn presented the council with a copy of Court Clerk Danielle Smith's letter of resignation, noting that Smith's two weeks is up on Friday.
Smith asked permission to continue promoting the Farmer's Market, organizing donations for the city pound and working with the Senior Center to become a 501(c)3 nonprofit.
"I still very much want to be involved in the city; I love it here," Smith said.
Mayor Blake agreed to allow Smith to remain involved and said the city is grateful to have her help.
City Clerk Zinn then asked to purchase Smith's personal desk for $100. Alderman Judith Pendergraft and Mayor Blake agreed to split the cost of the desk and donate the furniture to the city.
In other business, the council:
• Voted to have Alderman Karen Wallgren serve as the second alderman signing checks;
• Reviewed the 2018 audit with CPA Jon Cummings.
General News on 07/11/2019
Print Headline: SWC Council Learns Of Budget Shortfall