Proposed budget has raise for city workers 8/20/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Proposed budget has raise for city workers

By John Howell Sr.
Batesville city officials moved ahead last week with a $21 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year that starts October 1.

The proposed budget that will be placed before the public at a hearing August 27 includes a two percent cost-of-living raise for city employees, a pared-back wish list from city department heads, a raise for Mayor Jerry Autrey and infrastructure improvements.

For 2014, the Hunter’s Trace sewerage project gets its first funding. Aldermen voted earlier this month to include $150,000 for funding the initial work to extend sewer service to the subdivision in east Batesville. The budget also includes continued street overlay projects for next summer, partial funding for another fire truck purchase and funding for a full-time fire chief.

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During their budget discussions, aldermen also agreed to additional work on the city-owned parking lot adjacent to Davis Family Pharmacy and the Copeland building. The surface will be sealed and striped and a wood fence will be constructed to shield from view the stored materials and machinery in the city-owned storage lot, aldermen agreed.

During their Wednesday, August 14 meeting, the mayor and aldermen agreed to resurface portions of Country Club Road and Craig Street during the 2013 paving season. Mayor Jerry Autrey requested the addition of the two streets after sufficient funds remained in the amount budgeted for this year.

Alderman Bill Dugger’s request to ask the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to restudy the traffic signal at Tiger Drive and Highway 51 prompted recollections that a traffic signal once operated there shortly after South Panola High School moved east of Highway 51 in 1967.

Alderman Stan Harrison said that the signal initially operated as a conventional stoplight from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. After 6 p.m. the signal flashed yellow for north/south traffic; red for east/west traffic, he said.

Dugger made the request following a spectacular August 13 wreck involving a truck loaded with sand. The wreck came one week after Joanne Autrey had pleaded with city officials to act to slow truck traffic on highways through Batesville.