— By CHRISTIN COYNE
ANNETTA – While acknowledging a need for additional city road repair funding, the Annetta town council recently adopted the proposed city budget for the current fiscal year.
With no city property tax, council members had little wiggle room to bring in additional revenue to cover what all appeared to agree are needed city road projects.
Because it is not yet clear exactly how the recent annexation of the now southern portion of Annetta will affect revenues, the Annetta budget conservatively estimates how the increase in population will affect revenue and assumes that sales tax revenue will remain flat, according to city officials.
Council member Larry Wood, who handles the city’s road repair work, said the budget sets aside $33,000 for roads and he expects to use $30,000 to put down 2 inches of asphalt on portions of Highland Road totaling three-tenths of a mile in length.
SeeHe will be keeping back $3,000 to fix potholes, Wood said.
The town currently has an estimated 18.5 miles of roads and $30,000 isn’t going to cover needed maintenance, according to Wood, who added that winter, a season particularly hard on roadways, is approaching.
Asked by council member George Ripley how much money was needed to keep the roadways in repair, Wood said they might survive in the range of $60,000.
Wood also acknowledged that the city does not have the revenue to do so in the budget.
Echoed by several other council members, Ripley said that as the city learns what the revenue is going to be during the current fiscal year, additional funds need to be channeled to the roads.
Council member Bruce Moore, who was the sole member of the council to vote against adoption of the $166,000 general fund budget, expressed concern that the revenue estimates were too conservative given the recent annexation.
The general fund budget includes increased funding for the city’s two now-full-time employees, as well as funds to move into a new city administrative building.
The council also unanimously adopted the city’s $917,000 enterprise fund budget for the city’s water and sewer systems. Funds for two proposed wells for the Deer Creek Water System are expected to be funded with bonds approved by voters in May 2012.
Adoption of the city budget was late this year.
Though state law requires adoption of a city budget by Oct. 1, the city council did continue paying its bills after failed attempts to pass a budget during the month prior to the Oct. 17 regular city council meeting.
There are no known consequences for not doing so prior to the deadline, according to Mayor Bruce Pinckard.
The city council’s Sept. 19 agenda included the adoption of the budget. However, as a thunderstorm passed through the Annetta area, the power went out at city hall, halting budget discussion.
During the meeting, council member Wood brought up the issue of whether Annetta residents were given the legally required notice of a public hearing on the budget but was told by city officials that the requirements had been met.
The budget was not discussed during a continuation of the Sept. 19 meeting on Sept. 24 because the public notice requirements had not been met, according to Wood.
The city council was unable to hold a public hearing and adopt the proposed budget during a specially called Oct. 1 meeting because the city did not have a quorum to do business as council members Moore and Wood did not attend.
Wood and Moore said they knew they would be unable to make it to the specially called Oct. 1 meeting and communicated that to city officials prior to the meeting.