Decatur City Commission Meeting The Decatur Board of Commissioners passed a proposed budget amendment, last night at the

City Commissioners meeting, which will shift approximately $200,000 of the city budget to fulltime city employees in a one-time salary adjustment. The bonus will be given as a check to 203 fulltime non-probationary good standing city employees. These employees will receive one extra week¶s worth of compensation tax free. The average annual salary for fulltime city employees is $52,356. Therefore, the average one week salary supplement will be more or less $1,000 for each employee. Of the effected employees, 99 are in public safety officials, 59 works in the public works department, 16 works for Decatur active living and children services, and 29 works in other various facets of city government. ³We have our draft audit in place, and because of additional revenues and reduced expenditures we are going to be able to supplement our fun balance,´ said Peggy Merriss, Decatur City Manager. ³We had thought at the beginning of the year that we were going to have to spend about $700,000. That was revised down to using about $400,000. When the results came in, we¶re actually going to add about $1 million back to that fun balance.´ According to Mayor Bill Floyd, even with this budget amendment the city will still have nearly $6.4 million, or 34 percent of expenditures, left in the fun balance. This is still puts the city of Decatur 14 percent over their targeted 20 percent miscellaneous budget. ³I just wanted to come and say, I don¶t personally see any problem with approving [the proposed budget amendment]. I know that at the last meeting it was tabled, because someone had

asked if this was the right time due to economic environment,´ said Eric Baca, of 539 Oakview Road, in support of the budget amendment during the public comment. ³I would just offer that we should not penalize the well managed city and staff, because the economy happens to be in a rough patch.´ ³We¶re trying to stay within our policy of having a well funded fun balance, but not an excessive fun balance. So our recommendation does state that the City Commission approves a budget amendment for an additional one week pay-period adjustment,´ said Merriss to Mayor Floyd before the official vote. Due the surplus in the community budget fun balance, the commissioners agreed to pass the recommendation from Merriss by a unanimous vote. The issue was tabled at the meeting on October 4, 2010 by Commissioner Boykin, who claimed he needed more time to review the facts and the specific numbers of the proposal. ³I asked for, at the last business meeting, for a little longer to think about this. I had a couple conversations with Peggy, and I appreciate that. We have a hell of a staff, but it was kind of a tough decision for me and I needed a little more time to think about it«I¶m trying to balance my duty to the staff who work with me and my duties to the taxpayers,´ said Commissioner Boykin. At that same meeting, the city commissioners voted to pass a one-time tax credit to all homeowners in Decatur. This tax credit will give each home approximately $70 off their homeowners tax, equaling approximately $70,000 total, which the city will pay for with the same fun balance resources.

³We could be talking about layoffs and furloughs, but instead we¶re discussing ways to give our citizens help, and I¶m grateful for that,´ said Boykin, closing discussion on the proposal.

In other business: the board voted to consolidate two part-time parking jobs to establish one fulltime Parking Management Supervisor, and they also agreed that Merris will work with Decatur Tourism Bureau. The board voted to create a new position to manage Decatur parking. The new Parking Management Supervisor will oversee 7 part-time parking attendants. He/she will also work with the Zoning Board and the Downtown Bureau to create plans for new lots and ways to improve the established parking in the Downtown Decatur area. The salary for the parking supervisor will begin between $42,000 and $68,000. Even if the committee votes to start the supervisor at the higher $68,000, the consolidation from two part-time parking mangers to one supervisor will save the city $23,000 annually, according to Lynn Menne, the Decatur Assistant City Manager. The board of commissioners also agreed to allow Merriss to negotiate the management services agreement with the Decatur Tourism Bureau, Inc. Decatur¶s Tourism Bureau is a recent development. The Bureau has been working diligently to bring tourists to the city, particularly the downtown area. The Bureau¶s latest plan is to establish enough support to create a Welcome Center for the city. As the city manager, Merriss will be the µmiddle man¶ between the Bureau and the

various committees the bureau will have to go through to begin the long process on the way to opening the Welcome Center.

Courtney Overcash 3010 Staff Writer 820 Words

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