Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TOP STORY >> Council in Cabot passes ’13 budget

Leader staff writer

The Cabot City Council met for 15 minutes Monday night and passed the 2013 budget with no discussion since the council’s budget committee had said more than a month ago that they were ready to approve it.

The budget includes $11 million in the general fund, up from the budgeted $10.4 million for 2012. But the entire budget, which includes funds that can only be spent for streets, the library and the senior citizen center, is $13.6 million.

Employees will receive 2 percent pay raises except the new ones or those who have reached the top of their pay scale. Christmas bonuses are $175 this year.

The 2 percent increase will raise Eddie Cook’s salary as director of operations from $54,340 to $55,427 in 2013.

The city’s highest salary goes to the mayor who has said he will not accept the 2 percent raise and will remain at $89,544. Other top paid employees are Police Chief Jackie Davis with a proposed salary for 2013 of $87,596, Fire Chief Phil Robinson with a proposed salary of $80,647 and Public Works Director Brian Boroughs with a proposed salary of $75,264.

The budget includes $92,578 for the city council, $532,007 for the mayor’s office, $225,711 for the city attorney’s office, $375,999 for the clerk’s office,$3 million for fire protection, $3.6 million for police, $288,936 for district court, $464,127 for public works and $295,415 for animal control.

The budget for public works does not include the more than $400,000 a year that is supposed to come in from the state-wide, half-cent sales tax approved this month by state voters.

• The council also voted without discussion to pay up to $100,000 for the old service station and lot adjacent to the city hall parking lot. Mayor Bill Cypert has talked about buying the lot for several months. He says that just tearing down the old station will improve the appearance of the corner at North Second Street and Pine Street, which is important for continuing growth in Cabot.

• The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the city clerk to set up a separate bank account for donations to animal control. Currently donations are kept in a safe at animal control, where the former director was fired after money went missing.

The mayor introduced Mike Wheeler as the new animal control director. Wheeler, the former assistant director, will hire someone to fill his old position, the mayor said.

• The mayor also introduced Matthew Hood, the new human resources director.

Hood was the assistant HR director for Sherwood before he came to Cabot.

• Council members will be sworn in at 10 a.m. on Jan. 1 at the council room at the city annex, the mayor announced.

• A special council meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 4 to appoint a council member to replace Alderman Patrick Hutton who won the election but is resigning from the council. Dallan Buchanan, who ran against Hutton, will almost certainly be on the list of possible appointees, but sources say his may not the only one.