Today is Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Council focuses on budget in work session

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By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead hopes next years proposed budget will be passed at the upcoming city council meeting before cuts begin to affect the citizens quality of life.

The budget plan failed at the meeting of the Lebanon City Council on Tuesday, when Councilors Lanny Jewell and Kathy Warmath voted no, and Councilor Fred Burton was present not voting due to the fact that he needed definitive numbers to make a decision. Councilors Rob Cesternino, Joe Hayes and Tick Bryan voted yes.

Finance Director Russell Lee revised parts of the budget and presented it to councilors on Wednesday during a work session. An email that followed explained that the health insurance increase was first down to 16.4 percent from the initial 23 percent requested. Then by including the increase in office copay to $30 per office visit, we secured and, as discussed, I accepted the renewal at a 13% increase and we now have final rates for health insurance, Lee said.

This change, Lee continued, will produce estimated annual reductions in the General Fund of little under $60,000 and $94,000 total for all departments.

He proposed decreasing the property tax rate by .75 cents per hundred of assessed value to 62.25 cents per hundred and discussed removal of the half-year funding of the Personnel Director position which could further reduce the tax rate by .75 per hundred of assessed value to 61.50 cents per hundred.

I am thinking that we will present this budget and see if we can get the necessary votes to get it passed a first reading. This is a bare bones bottom to provide the services that we provide, Craighead said. We would have to eliminate major portions like garbage pick-up otherwise. Everybody seemed to agree that they did not want to eliminate garbage service.

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