Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - August 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
City budget put on hold
Houston County Courier - August 2009
By Daphne Hereford
CROCKETT – Crockett city fathers voted to put approval of the city’s 2009-2010 $8.6 million budget on hold until the Monday, Aug. 24 meeting when they will consider it again.
During the required public hearing on the budget, Crockett Fire Department Chief Darrell Deckard presented members of council with a five-page budget request outlining items he said were needed in the department. Deckard’s requests total $156,850.
The maintenance and building repair request totaled $106,800 of which $100,000 was designated for a new roof for the fire station.
Of the $21,450 requested for legal and professional, $20,000 is needed for an Insurance Service office consultant.
And some $9,900 was slated for tools and equipment; $11,700 for uniforms and accessories and $7,000 for equipment
When elaborating on the requests, Deckard said the building needed a new roof and if it rains things still get wet in and out.
He said in the 30 years he has been associated with the department only one chair had been purchased. He added that the volunteers have purchased tables and chairs for the facility.
In explaining the $20,000 fee for the Insurance Service Office consultant, Deckard said the results of utilizing the consultant would improve the city’s rating and ultimately residents would save money on their insurance costs.
In his last request, he asked for a 14 –foot jon boat to be used at the city pond in Davy Crockett Memorial Park.
“We feel it is necessary for us to be able to provide recovery operation. Someone is going to die in that hole,” Deckard told council.
He then told council he felt the budget process was flawed.
Mayor Wayne Mask responded to the statement by reminding Deckard that he had access to council during the budget process.
Councilman Robert Measows then posed his questions to Deckard about the ISO consultant and the process for improving the city’s rating.
Meadows, referring to the city pond, then asked Deckard, “Do you think there will be a death?”
Deckard responded by saying, “I think there will be.”
Meadows said, “I would hope you are wrong,” and went on to point out that many cities have ponds and lakes, some for aesthetic purposes.
At the end of the discussion, councilman Nathan Gardner asked if the pond had been brought to council before it was constructed.
Mayor Mask reminded Gardner that they were in a public hearing for the budget and that his question could be addressed later in the regular meeting.
Mayor Mask later called on Gardner to ask his question, which he did.
City Administrator Ron Duncan responded by saying he had to address a drainage issue in the park as well as a mosquito issue. He said the pond was designed to be a minimal hazard.
He closed his remarks by saying, “If this council feels it is a significant hazard that dozer can fill it (pond) up again.
“I did not act outside my authority, I fixed something that needed fixing.”
He concluded by saying that the pond was constructed at minimal cost and offers recreational opportunities for children in the community.
In other business, council voted 4-1 to accept the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the US Department of Homeland Security. The grant, as discussed in detail during the Monday, Aug. 3 meeting, will provide sliding scale government funding for the employment of three full-time firefighters for the Crockett Fire Department.
Jesse Stephens, CPA, presented to council the audit report for the year ending Sept. 31, 2008.
As discussed in the Monday, Aug. 3 meeting, Stephens reiterated that the city would take corrective action “to make sure that bond reserve requirements will be maintained as required.”
Mayor Mask announced that the city received $11,821 refund from TML, which represented 10 percent of the city’s 2008-2009 workers’ compensation and liability contributions.
Council approved a resolution in support of the 2010 census and heard a presentation from Larry McLain and Ken Leonard clarifying several misunderstandings about the census.
McLain said participating in the census was safe, simple and important to properly calculate funding for various grant and loans.
McLain said that the census would begin on April 1, 2010 and forms would be mailed to residents.