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Council nods line item budget

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By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post

Lebanon City Council approved a proposal to establish a full line item budget at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

The resolution would require changing the city budget from an omnibus budget to a line item budget.

The process for doing that will be discussed in detail before an ordinance to change is drafted, according to Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer.

The main difference in the two types of budget is that the line item requires prior approval before a department head can change how funds in the department’s budget are spent, while under the current system line items can be changed and reported to the council after the money has been spent.

For this type of budget to work well, department heads will need to plan the future needs carefully, Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath pointed out.

Council passed on second reading an ordinance establishing a budgetary impound account for the city.

The account allows the mayor to set aside certain funds until it is determined if the budget can be balanced for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. These funds will not be spent unless city tax revenues increase this spring.

In a work session before the meeting, council heard from Jimmy Floyd Family Center Director Tim Martin about a proposed addition to the facility.

Martin said the expansion would be funded by donations and grants or the proposed $1million-plus expansion would not be built.

However, Farmer and Warmath both suggested that Martin ask the YMCA to come in and look at the situation with the possibility of taking over the center.

“The timing for this is terrible,” Warmath said. “We may have trouble making payroll. I’d rather be sure we can pay the bills before we consider increasing our overhead.”

She also pointed out that she thought it would be irresponsible not to check out all the possibilities.

One of the reasons the center was originally built was to serve lower income residents. With the current membership fees, $335 per year for a family living in Lebanon and $450 per year for those outside the limits the center is still meeting that goal. The center also allows non-members to use the center for a fee of $5 per day.

The YMCA in Murfreesboro for example charges an initiation fee of $100 plus $78 per month for a total of $1,036 per year for family memberships, and they don’t have any admission for non members, an official with the Y in Murfreesboro said.

Another possibility suggested by Warmath was asking any contributors if they would be willing to use their funds to replace worn out equipment at the center and possibly pay for relining the outdoor pool instead of expanding the building right now.

In other action, council passed a resolution allowing City Engineer Chuck Boyett to request proposals for “Fats, Oils and Grease (F/O/G) Treatment, Disposal and Resource Recovery.”

Jeff Baines, commissioner of Public Works, received authorization for a service agreement with the Gladeville Utility District which would allow the city to provide and collect fees for sewer services to Gladeville customers.  Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com.

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