East Carbon City reviews 2010 budget, police officer situation
On June 18, East Carbon City (ECC) tentatively approved it's 2010 budget, and as with any budget review, discussion arose, but overall the process went smoothly with only a few issues.
In total the city has about $1.7 million in general funds for the coming year, with the largest portion of it being intergovernmental revenue, (mostly federal, state and CIB grants).
Although, ECC has been in good shape financially, it does have some issues pertaining to its police department and water sharing problems with Sunnyside city (SSC), but Mayor Orlando LaFontaine hopes that these problems (with SSC) can be resolved, "I don't want to hurt their residents, but we're (ECC) just not being informed, they need to tell us what their plans are," said LaFontaine. "It's tough."
A major budget issue with the council resides around the city's police department, because ECC currently has only four police officers whose compensation leaves something to be desired.
"I have a hard time maintaining officers. Guys just don't want to do this job for $14 an hour," said ECC police chief Sam Leonard during the meeting. While the current EC budget has not been able to budget a raise for officers, council members were adamant about finding the resources to help the ECC police force.
"I don't think they make near enough," said councilmember Darlene Kuhns during the meeting. " This is a hard place to police, we're on our own out here," she added. No action was taken on the issue as this was a budget meeting, but it is likely to come up again especially concerning officer's overtime payment. "It's a serious problem," concluded LaFontaine on the issue.
Moving on the council found various other budget concerns, notably with a debt owed to them by SSC which in total comes to around $60,000, according to LaFontaine.
Most of the indebted money involves brokered deals between ECC and SSC in which numerous services are contracted out to ECC by SSC in return for payments.
However during the past few months two services- sewage and water as well as police sharing have not been paid for by SSC. "We can't handle our staff with that debt," said Lafontaine, "here they're late on their bill and our citizens have to pick up the slack. Amounts that were mentioned during the meeting, however were disputed by SSC's mayor Bruce Andrews.
"I'm positive it's not $60,000," he said over the phone. The mayor does, however, acknowledge that money is owed and that SSC will pay so much of it every month.
To conclude the meeting, they discussed the possibility of purchasing a new ATV primarily for smaller snow removal jobs throughout ECC. The idea came in light of the success the city has seen with it's two new maintenance golf carts.
"We're seeing real savings on gas and maintenance," said Lafontaine. "I've got a lot of nice asphalt out there," he added on the less intrusive method of snow removal. The ATV in terms of price and type will be an item for further discussion.