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With the new year, the attention of the Mount Ayr city council turns to crafting the budget for FY 2021, and at their meeting Tuesday, January 21, the council reviewed budget requests from different city departments.
[The meeting was moved from its normal Monday schedule due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.]
After receiving those requests, city administration then plugs the requests into their budgeting software to arrive at final funding decisions.
Several departments had already delivered their budget requests to the city, but two hand delivered their requests at Tuesday’s meeting.
Bob Sickels, chair of the Rose Hill Cemetery board, and Mount Ayr Volunteer Fire Department chief Mike Wimer met briefly with the council to answer any questions about their departments’ requests.
Ringgold County Sheriff Rob Haley also presented his budget request for providing law enforcement services to the city.
The largest line item in the law enforcement budget deals with salaries and benefits for two deputies, but the council cannot plug the sheriff’s request into their budget before the county sets the percentage of salary increase for those deputies.
The county compensation board has recommended a 10 percent raise for the sheriff’s department. However, in constructing the county budget, the supervisors may choose to decrease that amount.
If the supervisors go with the 10 percent increase, the cost to the city for law enforcement will rise to an estimated $204,760.19 for the upcoming fiscal year, up from $195,440 for the current fiscal year.
If the salary increase is reduced to 5 percent, law enforcement will cost an estimated $199,361.
In comparison, the sheriff’s department was granted a 3 percent raise in the current FY2020 budget.
City clerk Pam Poore told the council she would have a preliminary budget prepared for the council’s review at their February 3 meeting. If necessary, the council could schedule a special work session to hammer out the budget details.
In other business, the council:
• approved pay requests from Poe Construction to $59,011.27 and from Jordan and Sons Construction for $34,523 for work on the water distribution system improvement project. The council then approved drawdowns from the project’s CDBG grant and State Revolving Fund to cover those pay requests.
City superintendent Brent Wise told the council the water project will come to a halt this week and resume in the spring.
• approved an application from the Mount Ayr Record-News for a $3,500 loan from the city’s revolving loan fund for a new door on its office on the square.