Today is Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Council, Finance Commissioner at odds over budget

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By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post

When Lebanon City Council approved an ordinance that provided more structure to line item transfers in department budgets, it seemed that a compromise had been made.

No money could change from line item to line item without being approved by the council twice, with the exception of emergencies such as towing vehicles or repairing equipment.

The system had been working flawlessly until Tuesday night’s meeting when Commissioner of Finance and Revenue Russell Lee introduced an ordinance to authorize the Final Miscellaneous Line Item Transfers for Fiscal Year 2008-2009, which would approve the transfer of more than $3 million to different line items.

The problem that the council had with this was that the transfers had already taken place before the new system had been introduced.

“This really gives me heartburn,” said Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer.

“We need to know when these transfers occurred and why,” said Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath. “I can’t approve this until I know why it happened.”

Lee said he would be able to give them the information they needed and the council voted to defer the ordinance to the next meeting.

Another ordinance the council questioned was one to maintain the current T-Hangar Rental Rates for Rows A and B at the Lebanon Municipal Airport, introduced by Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Baines.

“Why shouldn’t we increase the rates?” Farmer asked, to which Baines answered that the rates had been increased by $5 a month last year.

“Our rates are very competitive with other cities,” Baines said, “and there is a waiting list to use the hangars.” The ordinance passed unanimously.

In other business, the corner of West Main Street and North Greenwood Street was officially designated by council as “Scout Park.” The area had recently been landscaped as a part of an Eagle Scout project.

“Austin Holtgraewe came up with the idea and did the work,” said Scout Master Bart Sims of Boy Scout Troop 360. “He raised over $3,000 by himself and put in over 300 hours of work on the site. It’s amazing what these young men can accomplish when they put their minds to it.”Holtgraewe was not at the meeting and was to appear before a committee on Wednesday to be promoted to Eagle Scout.

Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at ben@wilsonpost.com.

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