Centerville leaders rescind pay raises

CENTERVILLE — The City Council received the formal presentation of the 2010 city budget and rescinded pay raises for itself at Tuesday night’s meeting.

City Administrator Patrick Eidson presented the budget, showing only a 1.36 percent increase in general fund spending over this year.

That will preclude the need for a property tax increase in the city, allowing the millage rate to remain 10.781 mills in 2010.

The council will adopt the budget for fiscal 2010, which begins July 1, at its next meeting June 16.

Eidson said increases in spending for 2010 were due to an 11 percent increase in health-care insurance costs, the purchase of new financial software that will integrate the city’s computer systems and money to pay for the Sentry Oaks sewer line expansion project.

To help hold the line on the budget, no performance or cost of living increases were included for city personnel.

The proposed fiscal 2010 general fund budget presented Tuesday is $3,889,229, only about $53,000 (1.36 percent) more than the 2009 budget. The water and sewer enterprise fund budget was $3,263,657, which was $84,000 (2.64 percent) more than 2009, and the sanitation fund budget was $901,424, about $7,300 (0.82 percent) more than 2009.

Mayor Harold M. Edwards Jr. commended Eidson and Councilmen Edward Tucker and Randall Wright for their work with the city department heads to formulate the budget and hold the line on costs.

Tucker and Wright passed on the praise to the department heads for coming into the process willing to do more with less in the coming year.

During the public hearing portion of the meeting concerning the budget, resident John Harley also commended the council on avoiding a tax increase, but he said he would be willing to pay a bit more in taxes to provide city employees with cost of living increases.

In the spirit of holding down costs, the council also unanimously passed an ordinance suggested by Councilman Robert Smith Jr. to rescind pay raises for themselves and the mayor that they had approved in May 2008. Those raises, which would have taken effect in January 2010, called for the mayor’s salary to be increased from $400 to $600 per month, and for the council members’ pay to be increased from $200 to $300 per month.

In other action Tuesday, the council:

Ÿ Reappointed all five members of the Centerville Planning and Zoning Commission — Walt Whiting (term expires June 2, 2010), Steve Honrath and Ben Cheney (terms expire June 2, 2011) and Ralph Kennedy and Paul Copeland (terms expire June 2, 2012).

Ÿ Approved a business license for Sheri Fincher of Valencia Circle to operate a lawn-care business from her home.

To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 923-6199, extension 235.