By Jim Young
The Crossville City Council continues to make progress on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year with upcoming work sessions before the work will be finished.
During the council's audit committee meeting, the council reviewed work they have done so far on the budget that currently stands at $355,705 in the red. Recently resigned city manager Bruce Wyatt along with finance director Fred Houston have recommended a 2 percent raise for city employees along with $225,205 for non-profit and outside organizations and $285,816 in capital items.
With additional work session, the council felt that additional cuts to the budget could be made in order to bring the budget closer to balance for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Also discussed briefly during the audit committee meeting was the city's interest in a merger with South Cumberland Utility District. Councilman Pete Souza continues to express concern abut the matter of the customers not having representation on the council as they are not city residents and can not vote for council members. The subject of the merger and Councilman Souza's concerns are expected to come up at a future work session.
Crossville's Meadow Park Dam project was recognized by the Tennessee Concrete Association as the Best Architect/Engineer non-building structure for last year. The project beat out other projects in the state of Tennessee including some by TDOT and others. ECE Engineers Chuck Burgess and Scott Christian presented the award to Mayor J.H. Graham. The award recognized the hard work and coordination by the city, ECE, contractor Brayman Construction and concrete supplier Irving Materials for their work on the project. The award also noted the project was on time and under budget.
During the council's regular meeting, Alan Baker of Wags and Whiskers made a presentation about a program that the organization hoped would allow them to spay or neuter some 440 dogs. The group has applied for a grant that would give them $21,000 to provide the free service to residents. They estimate that the first year would reduce the number of animals in the area by 2200.
Wags and Whiskers started as an animal rescue group in 2004 and in 2010 they redirected to a spay/neuter program due to difficulty finding homes and volunteers to care for rescued animals. During their history, the group has rescued some 3500 animals and overseen some 6500 sterilization procedures.
The city recognized several partners in the new city hall building with a plaque that will be hung near the entrance to the building. The plaque recognizes Crossville, Inc. and StonePeak Ceramics for their donation of ceramic tiles used in the new city hall renovation. Also recognized was Woodmen of the World who provided flag poles for the front of the building.
The council approved the purchase of ammunition for the Crossville Police Department including standard ammunition and sniper rounds. Because of the shortage of ammunition currently the department could only find a single source that could deliver product in a reasonable amount of time.
The city continues to accept donations of funds for the annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks. Currently the city has collected some $6200 with another $1000 promised. The council has agreed to match the amount of money donated and must decide on the size of the fireworks program by the first of June.
Martin Elementary School Student Kelsey Green was recognized as the student of the month for her citizenship.
The council did agree to $3500, half of the request for new front doors at the Fair Park Senior Citizens Center. The county is to fund the other half. In addition, the council voted to fund $1500 donation to the senior softball team. The group had requested $3000 for participation fees for Senior Olympics.