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Council struggles with city charter, line item transfers

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By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post

There were moans and groans heard from Lebanon’s City Council on Tuesday night as they discussed changes to the city’s charter at a work session and dealt with several line item transfers during the regularly scheduled meeting.

“Going over this charter, we keep finding more things that need to be changed,” said Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston. “We need to form a committee to go over this and give us a list of all the things that need to be addressed so that we can fix the charter quicker than us going through and trying to fix it bit by bit.”

Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath and Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer echoed Huddleston’s sentiments.

The other issue that got on the council’s nerves was all of the line item transfers that needed to be dealt with, some going back to last fiscal year’s budget. Overall, there were four separate ordinances addressing line item transfers, one of which was labeled as Final Line Item Transfers for Fiscal Year 2008-09.

“How many times are we going to see ‘final’ with these transfers from last year?” Farmer asked Finance Commissioner Russell Lee. “Why are we just now fixing these errors when we are about to start next year’s budget?”

Lee tried to answer, but Farmer would not have it.

“Perhaps we should let the state see these errors and penalize Mr. Lee,” Farmer said. All four ordinances passed, though Farmer and Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler voted against the Final Line Item Transfers.

Also on the agenda was the second reading for an ordinance to amend the Lebanon Municipal Code regarding Termination of Utility Services, sponsored by Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Baines.

“If you don’t pay your utility bill, you will be cut off,” Baines said. “Everyone must pay here at City Hall during normal business hours.”

When Warmath asked if there was sufficient time between the first notice that the bill was late and the termination of service, Baines said that there was two months.

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