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Budget, Tax Rate Approved in Marathon Meeting

A MEMORIAL DONATION was made to the B-RI Railroad and Historic Museum by the family of Mr. R.J. Hartless. Mr. Hartless served the B-RI Railroad from 1950 until his retirement in 1984. A picture of Mr. Hartless is in the frame as well as United Transport Union railroad pins awarded to him, UTU buttons, a formal thank you from the UTU for his service, a B-RI Railroad knife and money clip. Presenting the donation are family members of R.J. Hartless: (l to r) Mart Hartless, Marcia Dunnahoe, Nona Hartless, Marvin Hartless and Dianne McAlpine.

It took two evenings, which included an adjournment of 23 hours and 52 minutes, but the Teague City Council kept their noses to the grindstone and handled the city?s business for September, including approving the city?s 2013-14 budget and tax rate.

The original meeting was called for Tuesday evening, September 17th but the lack of a quorum caused Mayor Earnest Pack to adjourn the meeting until 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18th. Councilman Chris Nickleberry had missed the September 17th meeting due to school related responsibilities and was a few minutes late to Wednesday?s meeting, bringing a sigh of relief when he entered the council chambers to those in attendance for the second consecutive evening.

Prior to the announcement that the Tuesday meeting was being adjourned until Wednesday, Mayor Pack presented Teague Boy Scout Alex Fuentes a Certificate of Valor for saving the life of Kelley Starnes in a pre-dawn house fire at 1200 Mulberry Street. Fuentes saw Starnes run back into the burning house and went into the engulfed home after her and brought her out safely. Fuentes received a round of applause from those in attendance at the meeting.

Picking up action on Wednesday after the arrival of Nickleberry were council members Ron Rasbeary, Marilyn Michaud, Mayor Pack and City Administrator Judy Keally.

First action on tap was holding a budget amendment hearing on budget amendments for fiscal year 2012-2013. With no one speaking at the hearing, Mayor Pack closed the hearing and budget amendments of $347,000 were approved. No appropriations or additional funding was needed due to surplus of funding in fiscal year 2012-2013 to cover the expenses which included Hwy 84 Project payoffs, renovations at the city park, water well repairs, new generator, new truck for water department and purchase and installation of SCADA system.

Council members conducted a public hearing on the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget and then approved the budget, which contained general fund revenues of $1,938,204 and general fund expenditures of the same amount and utility fund revenues and expenditures both at $1,4484,600. The overall budget for the upcoming fiscal year totals approximately $3,423,100.

Council members also approved a resolution ratifying the city?s tax rate for the upcoming year at .74165 per $ 100 valuation, the exact same rate as last year. This year?s rate will generate about $20,000 less tax revenue due to a drop in property valuation, but that number will be covered by an anticipated increase in sales tax rebates. The council did not approve the effective tax rate of .769933 per $100 valuation, which generates the same amount of money as the year before.

Council members reinstated the garage sale ordinance, which now reads that only two garage sales for the length of two days each (10 hours per day) can be held at the same premise during any one calendar year. Added to the ordinance is that all garage sales shall be conducted at least 15 feet from any property boundary line of the premises and that persons conducting the garage sale must properly dispose of all garage sale advertisement sings within four hours after the garage sale ends. Permits are still required to be picked up at city hall but the $5 process fee has been discontinued.

Council members also approved a resolution for the city to dispose of obsolete property which has no value to the City to non profit groups and amended the city?s personnel manual so public work employees can not drive city vehicles home from work. An amendment was also approved for the city?s November 5th special election for two vacant council seats to be held jointly with Freestone County.

Council members approved a $4,682 bid from Kenny?s Electric, Inc. for installing new lighting in city hall; gave the City Administrator authority to grant temporary sidewalk obstruction in order to permit the one a month city wide garage sales on Main Street, approved pay a $900 past due bill to the former City Building Inspector and authorized the nominations of Teresa Vandiver, Craig Dunlap, O.B. Utley III, Sid Fryer, Lovie Whyte and Lisa Foree to the Board of Directors of the Freestone Central Appraisal District.

Council members went into executive session and after reopening the meeting approved the following items: Termination of city employee Shane Reeves by a 3-0 vote and the appointment of Sherrie Noland, Clint Skinner, Brandon Whitaker, Tiffany Maggard, Randy Hyden and Alan Van Hooser to the Economic Development Board of Directors. Alderman Michaud voted against appointing Noland, Whitaker and Hooser to the board but they were approved by a 2-1 vote.

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