City budgeting process involves two closed-door sessions

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2016

City budgeting process involves two closed-door sessions
Paving projects set to begin in downtown area

By Rupert Howell
City of Batesville officials held a “marathon” meeting Tuesday beginning with a special budget meeting at  9 a.m. and continuing with their regular third Monday meeting at 2 p.m.
Although much of the meeting was about department budgets, aldermen spent considerable time behind closed doors stating they were discussing individual salaries of city employees.
During the afternoon meeting aldermen closed the doors again to talk about personnel and after almost 90 minutes reported the only action taken was hiring a police dispatcher.
Also during the meeting aldermen committed to begin the paving program on the Downtown and Eureka Street area and 11 other locations.
Streets and parking lots included: McMahan Drive, Medical Center Drive, John R. Lovelace Drive, Atwell Street, Jackson Street, Patton Lane Community Center, Graves Street, Dickey Street, Van Voris and Holly Cove.
Asphalt overlay for the street projects are estimated at $374,709 plus the Square overlay of an additional $264,000.
Estimated cost for the Downtown Square/Eureka Street project was $410,000 and includes installing lights, landscape and the pocket park across from old Eureka Theater Building.
The city received approval of a $100,000—80/20 percent match grant to build a walking trail at the Indian Mounds located on Highway 35 north between the railroad and the Tallahatchie River.
The city estimate for the trail was $170,000, “to do what you wanted to do,” City Engineer Blake Mendropp reminded board members.
Batesville Firemen will be going door-to-door according to Fire Chief Tim Taylor, placing free smoke detectors provided by the American Red Cross.
Taylor said firemen will work mostly west of the railroad track and the detectors will have a built-in 10-year battery, “So they won’t take the battery from the smoke detector and put it in the TV remote (control)”.
City leaders are meeting again this morning, (Friday) to “whittle, whittle, whittle,” on their budget in accountant Bill Crawford terms.
Sitting at $2 million above projected revenue, Alderman Stan Harrison said, “Somebody’s going to have to suck it up somewhere.”

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