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Construction brings hope for growth

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MINER -- New construction slated for the land currently occupied by the Raudmont Inn should make a difference in the city's coming fiscal year.

Board of Alderman members adopted the budget for the city's next fiscal year which begins Sept. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2007, after approving an amendment to the 2005-2006 budget during their regular meeting Tuesday.

"The city of Miner has continued a close watch on expenditures due to the slow economy and unstable future," City Clerk Janet Tuttle wrote in her budget message.

"There have been no new businesses or expansions this year but we are hopeful as there will be construction of two new motels and demolition of one existing motel this fiscal year. In conjunction with the new Drury Inn & Suites, a Steak 'n Shake will also be constructed which promises more revenues," she continued. "We feel, even with the slow recovery of the economy, the higher fuel costs and increased cost in other consumer goods, these new constructions will help bring interest and possibly more growth to our city in the coming year."

The budget projects $1,258,440 in revenue for the general fund as compared with $1,136,211 last fiscal year.

Total expenditures for the budget are $1,250,991 with last fiscal year's total being $1,042,547.

The Board also readopted the financial disclosure ordinance.

"All this has to be done every year," Tuttle said.

An attempt to officially set the city's tax levy for 2006 at the current rate of 19 cents per $100 assessed valuation on personal and real estate property failed to get the required three votes, however.

Alderman Frank Tatum is on vacation and Alderwoman Peggy Holman voted against it as she wants to see the rate raised.

As Tuttle advised the tax levy needs to be set before the end of the fiscal year, a meeting was set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

In other business:

* The Board's approval of revisions to the city's personnel handbook was vetoed by Mayor Betty Barnes. "I'm strongly against changing this handbook," she said. "I think it's very bad, bad policy to change it."

The revision Barnes is opposed to would allow two relatives to be hired in the same city department if all avenues of finding another suitable candidate have failed.

The change is proposed so a particular applicant can work at the water department under their father-in-law.

While this revision as written would only apply to positions that require a license or certification to hold the position, Barnes said she thinks it could cause problems for the city in the future.

"If you open it for one, you open it for all," she said.

Sharon Smith, a resident of Miner, said she doesn't think it's a good idea to have someone working for the city under their father-in-law. "You're asking for trouble," she said.

Another revision included in the ordinance would limit employees to three unexcused absences within a 12-month period.

Alderman Justin Medley said the board members will attempt to override the mayor's veto, which requires a two-third majority, in a future meeting.

* Board members approved the purchase of a generator, lighting, adaptors and a drop tank assembly for the fire department at a cost of $14,470.74 from Battalion Three.

With these purchases, "both trucks will be the same," said Jack Tucker, fire chief.

Medley said the Board only budgeted $10,000 for the department's equipment line item, "but I think it's necessary."

* Board members said they are in favor of funding the re-establishment of a city firing range but tabled action until Wednesday's meeting to allow the police department's officials to gather firm figures on the cost to do so.

"They're wanting to put it back where it used to be," said Dub Higden of the Department of Public Works. "It will be gated and signs put up. It will be a safe location."

The department had used Sunshine Steel's firing range but has experienced problems lately with the range's other users not taking care of targets. "The range is in really bad shape," said Capt. Darrin Skinner of the Miner Police Department.

Chief Roger Moore said the sheriff's department firing range often presents scheduling conflicts and transportation costs the department can't afford to deal with.

* The payment of $316 in yearly dues to the Bootheel Regional Planning Commission was approved.