Raises, capital outlay added to proposed city budget

Oneonta City Council

Continuing work on their possible 2019 fiscal year budget, Oneonta officials listened as city manager/economic developer Ed Lowe reviewed changes he has made to the previously presented plan. Those changes include employee pay raises and capital outlay funds.

Detailing the alterations, Lowe explained he had added a three percent raise for hourly employees and a conditional four percent raise for salaried department heads. Department heads may receive raises at one percent a quarter, for each quarter any are within their budget.

In addition, the new plan provides $102,000 in capital outlay under general government and sets aside another $50,000 in that category for fire, parks and recreation, and police departments. The proposal reduces the chamber of commerce appropriation by $10,000 to $25,000 total and increases the Oneonta Business Association’s grant by $3,000 to $10,000 total.

Lowe named several employees who helped in the budget preparation. He indicated his desire to see the budget passed before the Oct. 1 beginning fiscal year date.

Prior to the budget work session, council members heard a request by Danny Kelley and Don Mitchell of the county economic development council. The duo asked the city to consider donating land adjacent to the present Wallace State campus on Second Avenue East and providing a $500,000 appropriation toward construction of an Alabama career center at that location.

Mayor Ross Norris and city attorney Alex Smith expressed concern over the proper legal path to accomplish the pair’s request. Smith stated he always strives to do what city officials wish, but indicated he would need to do further research to see how he might proceed.

Mitchell noted his council has the opportunity to apply for grants but needs quick action to improve chances for approval in the upcoming cycle of awards. He offered to meet with Smith or others to discuss any possible alternatives.

In personnel matters, the council voted to raise Jonathan Ballew to full-time status with the police department and employ Bailey Brothers as a part-time firefighter. Councilors accepted resignations from part-time police officers Joshua Snider and Matthew Smith.

Concluding a matter presented in a public hearing prior to the council session, members agreed to vacate a portion of C Street between the ditch behind the former pool supply building and Ala 75. They also approved a liquor license request for J.W. Bar and Grill, which will operate at the former Pounder’s site on First Avenue East.

Councilors Hal Blackwood, Nathaniel Butler, Richard Phillips, Danny Robinson, and Tonya Rogers joined Norris for the Sept. 11 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.