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By Amanda Cole
The Liberty City Council adopted a resolution committing $250,000 toward the completion of the Casey County Community and Education Center project.
The city matched the amount given by Casey County Fiscal Court for the proposed college in downtown Liberty on June 20. However, both pledges are contingent upon “the acquisition of all funding needed” for the college.
“I think we are moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Steve Sweeney. “I think (the college) is going to be one of, if not, the most significant things that we will accomplish for the city and the county.”
The council also gave first reading to the budget Wednesday and second reading and passage on Thursday at special-called meetings.
The council adopted a budget of $4.4 million for fiscal year 2012-2013, down from the current $4.6 million enacted budget that ends June 30.
“This (upcoming) year’s budget is very similar to last year’s budget other than that we anticipate some increased revenue because we’ve increased our rates on utilities to some extent,” Sweeney said.
In the new budget, about $885,949 will operate the city, while $2.1 million is alloted for the water and sewer fund, and about $955,000 in the gas fund.
“Last year was a particularly bad year for us revenue-wise because of the extremely warm winter,” he said. “Our revenue from gas was way down last year. We’re hoping for a little cooler weather this year.”
The budget includes $972,875 in general fund revenues, up from $926,025.
In other funds, the revenues are $109,000 for MAP Fund, which includes $75,000 to be used on roads before Nov. 30 (see other business); $5,550 for the Glenwood Cemetery fund; $2.1 million for water and sewer fund; $955,000 in the gas fund; and $360,350 for the garbage fund.
In city appropriations, $291,583 is set aside for general government; $399,456 for the Liberty Police Department; $112,110 for the Liberty Fire Department; and $75,800 for streets and public works.
In general government, the largest allocations are $61,800 for salaries and wages, the same as last year.
Parks and recreation will receive $30,000.
The council salary account received an increase of $7,200, bringing it to $21,600. In May 2010, the council voted to double the salary from $200 a month to $400 to take effect January 2011, but they missed the deadline by six days, said Sharleen Rodgers, city clerk. The raise had to wait until after the next election, which will take place this November.
“So it’ll be January when they get their increase, so only half a year’s increase is reflected,” Sweeney said.
Some of the largest expenditures in the city police department’s appropriations is $226,600 for salaries and wages; $17,000 for insurance; $31,500 in health insurance; $15,500 in police incentive pay $39,140 in retirement; $18,000 for motor fuel; and $8,000 in maintenance and repairs. The police budget is the same as last year.
For the fire department, the largest allocation is $26,860 for payment on the city’s newest fire truck. For FY2011, the largest allocation was fire calls at $38,625. In the new budget, fire calls are set for $25,000. The actual amount used was around $20,000. The fire chief’s salary is $14,400, while insurance for the department totals $55,200 and utilities account for $8,400.
For streets and public works, a cost of $50,000 is budgeted for utilities street lights, an increase of $2,000 from last year due to an increase in KU rates, Sweeney said.
Designated separately, street signs replacements are budgeted for $10,000 and $6,000 is included for parts, supplies and equipment. Another $4,000 is included for the department’s motor fuel.
The council also approved the amended budget for FY12, to balance the current year’s budget.
The amendment left the city with estimated fund balances of $316,123 in the general fund and $70,760 in the cemetery fund.
In other business, the council:
-Agreed to lease the Kentuckian theater property to Laura and Tracy Hebrock at $1 per month for a year with the option to buy at the cost the city paid for it, $140,000, in May 2006.
-Adopted and approved the execution of a resolution for a Municipal Aid Co-Op Program contract between the city and Commonwealth beginning July 1. It is something the city does every year, Sweeney said.
-Approved proposals to pave Trammel Street, Adams Street and the southern half of Whipp Avenue. Proposals - each under $20,000 - were submitted by Hinkel Contracting Company, LLC, in Burnside.
“We have some money that we need to spend - $75,000 on blacktopping,” Sweeney said. “We’ll be reimbursed for that. If we don’t spend those funds we’ll lose them at the end of the year.”
The council is working on getting a proposal to widen the bridge on Whipp Ave.
“We are going to widen the bridge on the northern half, so we don’t want to go ahead and lay asphalt and then have to tear it back out,” Sweeney said. “That’s why we are going with the southern half first.”
-Approved the proposal to pave Memorial Gardens Cemetery - across from Casey County Middle School. The proposal from Hinkel was for $18,694. The cemetery is not part of the $75,000 but needs to be blacktopped badly, Sweeney said. Funds for the project will come from the general budget.
Sweeney said there has been a two-week delay on the construction of the new 500,000-gallon water tank on Water Tower Hill. Construction is expected to start around June 28.
Sweeney said the council may need to consider putting up cameras on the walking trail in the future.
“It’ll be expensive no doubt, but we’re just having a lot of vandalism on the walking trail,” Sweeney said. All but one of the lights on the trail were broken and the gutters on the shelter behind the jail were bent.
On June 29 at 10 a.m. there will be a public meeting at City Hall regarding the college. The architects, college committee and area development district will be in attendance to discuss progress on the college.