Oneonta council approves 2009 $6.08 million budget

Oneonta City Councilmen have approved a $6,082,604 budget for 2009. The figure falls $123,000 below the fiscal 2008 budget, which ended Sept. 30. City manager Ed Lowe explained the reduced figure comes from a decline in revenues, primarily the result of lower interest income. He explained the city had spent some of the money it had in interest accounts toward designated projects.

With the suggestion of Mayor Danny Hicks, Lowe read budget totals for nine broad categories. Taken from material provided The Blount Countian, those and their corresponding 2008 totals are: general government $1,432,986 ($733,500 for ’08); building inspection $177,850 ($277,850); library $238,500 ($232,000); police $1,280,400 ($1,045,400); fire $895,993 ($858,775); streets $875,000 ($789,000); sanitation $252,500 (same); park and recreation $419,000 ($315,500); and debt service $565,450 (same).

The lower total figure reflects the third consecutive year the council has reduced its budget. The final figure in 2007 exceeded $6.36 million.

All councilmen praised the work of Lowe, city clerk Tammie Noland and others for their work in preparing the budget. Lowe noted that all agencies that sought council funding received the same as in FY 2008. He also thanked the department heads for staying within their ’08 budgets despite the tremendous increase in fuel and petroleum-related products.

Other business

In his regular report, Lowe also won council approval to apply for an ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) grant for a scenic walking tract. Should the city receive the award, it will provide a 20% match for the over $495,000 grant. The city has designated land adjacent to its sports complex for the track.

Addressing matters from a public hearing held 15 minutes before the regular session, councilmen rezoned a lot at 510 4th Ave. E. That property use changes to O-1 (office) from R-3 (residential).

Members also approved Goodwin, Mills and Cawood as its consulting engineering firm for work at the city airport. The firm has worked with the city on previous improvements at the airport.

City attorney Alex Smith reported the scheduled demolition of the old Big S Café building on US 231 N for Oct. 6. Several Sand Valley residents had urged the city to raze the structure, but the city had had to follow the condemnation process after the multiple owners would not agree to voluntary removal.

All councilmen attended the Sept. 23 session. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.