Council approves 2020 city budget

Thursday, January 30, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs City Council approved the city's 2020 budget on Monday night.

According to a resolution adopting the budget, the estimated revenues are $11,241,510 and the estimated appropriations are $10,803,153. Alderman Terry McClung moved to read the resolution for passage and everyone voted yes except Harry Meyer, who expressed frustration with the wages of public works employees.

The council then moved on to approve a proposed ordinance creating a permanent entertainment district with a sunset clause. Alderman Bob Thomas moved to amend the proposed ordinance to extend the sunset date to Sept. 13, saying it wouldn't go in effect until March 13.

"I'd like to see it effective from March 13 to Sept. 13," Thomas said.

The commission approved the amendment and alderwoman Mickey Schneider moved to defer the second reading of the proposed ordinance until the council could see a final copy of the document. Mayor Butch Berry said they were looking at the final copy and Schneider's motion failed for lack of a second. Meyer then moved to reduce the area of the downtown district and the council voted 4-2 against Meyer’s motion, with Meyer and Schneider voting yes.

McClung moved to approve the ordinance on a second reading by title only and the council voted to do so, with Meyer and Schneider voting no.

Also at the meeting, Thomas moved to ask city attorney Tim Weaver to draft an ordinance passing a water rate increase to the city's customers. Mayor Butch Berry said the Carroll Boone Water District increased its rates from $1.55 per thousand gallons to $1.75 per thousand gallons starting Jan. 1.

"We don't have any say in the case," Berry said. "They're just upping their cost."

In other business, the council approved a certificate of public convenience and necessity to allow a new taxi service in town, extended Linda Hager's lease for the 71 Spring St. patio for five years and agreed to have a workshop with the hospital commission in March to discuss the transfer of ownership from Allegiance Health Management to the commission.

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at the Auditorium.

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  • Twice, in Monday’s city council meeting, I noticed city council members flippantly throwing out their desire to “pass on” costs to the community. They call it “revenue” when everyone else calls it taxes or increases. Water increases? “It’s going up twenty cents a thousand gallons. Should we pass it on? Of course, but why don’t we make it 30 cents?” Heck, why not 50 cents. Why not a dollar? It’s only going to impact the businesses. They pay for everything.

    Raising everyone’s salaries? Sure, why not. How about doing things like that within the budget you’ve been elected to manage? Any gomer can just pass on increases to the citizenry. Why not just eliminate the travel budget. Apparently, you're having a little trouble keeping that one under control. Do you really need to be traveling on the taxpayer's dime around outside of Eureka Springs anyway?

    You have a budget of over 11 million dollars. That’s more than most people make in a lifetime. It’s much more than most city’s this size. Can you not handle a budget? Does the word “reserve” have no meaning to you? If you want more to spend, draw in more tourists (those who have money to spend, that is). They pay 83% of the city’s bills as it is. Also, make sure you pay your own taxes before you so giddily go after everyone else. If you can’t work within what the city gives you, please move out of the way and let someone who has an appreciation for working for a living take your place.

    -- Posted by Theuncommonsense on Thu, Jan 30, 2020, at 4:28 PM
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