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Council nods budget on first reading

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Lebanon City Councilors voted to adopt an annual budget and tax rate for fiscal year 2014-2015 on Tuesday night.

Council will consider the budget and tax rate ordinance on second reading in a special called meeting to be held at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, May 22, in the Town Meeting Hall, City of Lebanon Administration Building at Castle Heights.

The budget and tax rate must be passed in three readings before becoming finalized.

The ordinance listed the anticipated revenue total at $38,681,052 – with $23,902,367 in revenue and $14,778,685 in the fund balance. Total expenditures in the general fund are estimated to total $25,344,073. Personnel plans related to the budget, such as whether city employees will receive a raise in pay and the hiring of two new city positions, will be discussed in upcoming work sessions.

Items to authorize the Personnel Department to advertise hiring a Human Resources Director and Economic Development Director were deferred for the time being – until a work session could be held and councilors could discuss how best to meet those needs. Commissioner of Finance Robert Springer said the work session would be set in the month of June.

An ordinance to create three new positions for the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center passed on first reading. These positions include Center Director, Activities Director and Kitchen Manager. A second reading will be held after a work session.

Councilors also voted to amend the city charter in relation to the designation, hiring, management and disciplining of City Department Heads.

City Attorney Andy Wright explained that in 2000 the city charter allowed either the mayor or the majority of council to make decisions regarding disciplining or terminating positions.

“In 2006, it was changed to require both when making those decisions. The mayor would have to go to the council or the council would have to get approval from the mayor,” he said. “Last night we made it like it was, but with a few changes.”

One of these modifications was the addition of an appeals process built in for department heads. “(If terminated, the department head) can appeal to an administrative law judge,” Wright said, adding that the language will help the city find the best candidates possible for jobs. “You aren’t going to attract people if they think they will not have any kind of job security after the next election.”

Councilors also voted to authorize the purchase of fireworks for various city sponsored events, such as those taking place during Fourth of July, CABA World Series and Veterans’ Day.

Mayor Philip Craighead was absent from Tuesday night’s regular called meeting. He was in Las Vegas representing the city at the RECon Global Convention. According to its website, the convention provides networking and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals from around the world. Annually, the trade show attracts 1,000 exhibitors and more than 30,000 attendees who showcase their cities and businesses to increase commerce.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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budget, Lebanon City Council
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