By Terry Schrimscher
SPRINGVILLE — Springville Mayor Dave Thomas officially presented the annual budget to the city council for a first reading on Monday night, February 1. The budget was originally presented to the council prior to the last meeting in January but was removed from the agenda for further review and revision.
The $6,614,654 budget proposal includes several changes from the original January discussion. Additional revisions are expected in the February 8 work session but Mayor Thomas said he hopes the council will work to approve the budget before the next regular meeting on February 15—possibly in a special called meeting.
“Last week, the council gave me a lot of input which I incorporated into this document,” said Mayor Thomas. “I think we have a much better product as a result,” he said.
The budget includes a 2.5% pay increase for city employees and a proposed 2.5% increase in the city’s contribution to employee health care premiums. Currently, the city pays 25% toward health insurance for eligible employees. Councilmember Herbert Toles asked to revisit the amount to increase the contribution more than the 2.5% proposed.
One major change in the budget presented by Mayor Thomas is the removal of his proposed Cityscapes department. Instead of creating the new position, which he originally proposed in his first council meeting after taking office. The budget includes a new position which Thomas proposes to add to public works. Members of the council offered a counter-proposal to add the new position to Parks and Recreation or to evaluate where best to allocate the resources.
I’m not sure that we can introduce and pass a budget in the same evening,” said Thomas. “The budget is going to simply be introduced tonight and the council will have time to digest it and we’ll modify as we did last week and make sure everything is satisfactory to the council.”
Thomas proposed a commission structure for council members to provide oversight for different aspects of city operation. Herbert Toles has agreed to serve as Commissioner over the senior center and Co-Commissioner over Police and Fire with Wayne Tucker. Tucker will also oversee the streets. David Vinson will serve as commissioner over Parks and Recreation and the Chamber of Commerce. Katrina Hennings will serve over Planning and Zoning and Economic Development along with Tim Walker. Sherry Reaves will serve as a Commissioner over schools and also work with Parks and Recreation.
The council also approved $78,084.19 in monthly expenses during the meeting. The approval of monthly bills during council meetings is a new procedure adopted by the city.
Mayor Thomas moved the meeting into an executive session to discuss potential legal issues within the city, including concerns about the new Archer’s Cove neighborhood. An additional special executive session is planned for Wednesday evening, Feb. 3.