East Carbon bases decisions on city budget constraints
Keeping a close eye towards a balanced budget in the new fiscal year, the East Carbon City Council is looking to make sure funding is available before approving any motions.
Throughout the meeting as topics ranging from hiring local youth to help with projects around town, installing an automated sprinkler system at the park and working with Sunnyside City on some differences, each decision was met with the question of whether or not funding is available in the budget before approving any motion.
With the newly approved budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year put into place at the end of last month, the feeling among most of the city council seemed to be one of making decisions only after they have been thoroughly discussed and within the limits of the budget. Both near-term and long-term decisions were treated in the same manner by the council.
One of the near term topics discussed dealt with creating an automated sprinkler system at Viking Park. The cost of the project is estimated to be around $3,000 and would help reduce the amount of hours city workers manually spend watering the grass and allow the city the chance to water the park at night, instead of watering throughout the day which is currently happening now.
In the current budget, Viking Park has $10,000 set aside for use. Council member Andy Urbanik questioned if the council could take the money in the budget to also include other projects that may need to be done at Viking Park such as building new bathrooms that are handicap accessible, creating handicap parking spots and striping the parking lot.
"I think it's a good spend," said Urbanik of the automated sprinkler system. "But we need to keep an eye on the budget this year."
City maintenance worker Darwin Christensen said the park is constantly dealing with broken water lines when workers mow the grass and are not aware of how to work around them. Christensen said he is ready to start work on automating one half of the park, which he estimated would take a week to complete. The council unanimously approved a motion authorizing Christensen to start work on the system.
Another topic discussed by council members focused on differences with Sunnyside City in regards to the Public Safety Building and some maintenance work on a disputed sewer line.
Sunnyside City is requesting that East Carbon pay a portion of the $2,894.03 in utilities for the Public Safety Building for January 2010. East Carbon took over ownership of the building in July of last year and council member Darrell Valdez said he thought Sunnyside City had grant money to help pay for the project, with the remaining amount to be used towards the utility bill.
Maintenance work on a disputed sewer line was another issue between the two cities as Sunnyside City is disputing they didn't know services, including a video check of the sewer line, were being requested and that they didn't authorize the work to be done on the line. Council member James Wayman said a maintenance worker from Sunnyside City was present and requested that he be there as the work was taking place.
Sunnyside City is requesting that East Carbon pay for the video check of the line, totaling more than $500. Wayman said that the work benefited Sunnyside and was done at the suggestion of the Sunnyside City employee. In order to determine the best course action, Wayman and City Attorney Jeremy Humes will meet to discuss the two issues.
Three city employees will be receiving four percent raises in pay this year. The council unanimously approved increases for council member Cheryl McFarland, City Recorder Elizabeth Marquez and Darma Lopez.