Cisco City Council Listens; Votes for Another Budget Workshop

Community Voice Heard – Budget Workshop Scheduled

Council agrees to re-visit budget next week

It was standing-room-only Monday night at the Council Chambers of the Cisco City Council. Many community members, business owners and residents of Cisco gathered to voice their opinions concerning the proposed tax rate increase.

About 50 citizens crammed in the chambers to be heard and to hear what the Council had to say.

Among those who spoke to council were Judy Posey, J.R. McAllister, Mr. Carol, Robert Johnson, Pat Hagood, Doug and Ginny Witt, Tracy Rollins, Barbara Rollins, Andy Porter, and Jimmy Yowell.

For about 30 minutes, these folks voiced their concerns over the tax rate increase. From fixed-income families, to questions about sales tax and alcohol sales, to having to sell property, to taxes being doubled, to business owners concerned about their business, the council was attentive. Others were still upset about the fact that roads in Cisco are not paved.

Budget Vote

On the agenda was the second reading of the 2017-18 budget for the City of Cisco. The Mayor addressed several of the concerns from the citizens at this point. He stated that sales tax cannot be increased. He said that alcohol had increased sales tax, but CDC Director John Diers stated that it had flat lined since then. He also addressed the tax assessment done by the county.

There were options AGAIN presented by the Mayor. One option involved doing away with a new fireman position. One option was to separate the duties of the code enforcement officer and eliminate the position. There was an option to do both. A fourth option presented took excess funds from the water department and transfer to the general.

These options would bring the tax rate down to around $.80.

Councilmen Campbell made a motion to amend the budget, eliminating just the fireman position. 4 voted for, 1 against, 1 abstain.

Councilwomen Douglas made a motion to re-visit the entire budget, looking for ways to cut. The motion, at this time, did not receive a second, thus the motion died.

***UPDATE – Later in the evening, in Long Term Planning, discussion was made about a meeting to approve the amendment. It was suggested that the budget agenda item be addressed again. The mayor opened agenda item up again. Councilwoman Douglas again immediately motioned for a budget workshop to address budget cuts. There was second. 4 voted for the workshop (Douglas, Weger, C. Johnson and Mayor King). 2 voted against (W. Johnson, Campbell).

The Budget Workshop meeting will be Tuesday, September 19 at the Council Chambers, 6 pm. It is open to the public for comments, like normal.

Bulk Fuel Contract

KBR is offering the city 2 1,000-gallon tanks to use. They offered the city to provide monitoring system and remote monitors for tanks. They would like to have a 5-year agreement because of the money invested.

The yearly savings for the city would be in excess of $10,000. The Mayor recommended putting this out for bids, with everything that KBR is doing to be included in the bid. A motion was made, seconded and all were in favor of taking bids.

Water Treatment Plant

The city has secured another grant from the USDA in the amount of $500,000 to help with the new water treatment plant.

The grant was confirmed last Thursday.

Ambulance Service Contract

City Manager Darwin Archer met with the co-op to present them with the issues the council had. The co-op was ‘pro-active’ with what the city wanted. With this information and changes, he recommended that the city enter into contract and look at this again in 6 months to re-evaluate.

There were still questions about the money spent for the contract and the time served in Cisco.

Councilmen W. Johnson was concerned that the changes are not in writing.

Councilmen Weger was concerned that the city lawyers needed to look at the contract.

Councilmen C. Johnson was concerned about the other cities not paying for services.

The contract was able tabled upon further negotiations with the co-op.

Jail Contract

Judge Cheryl Howerton presented the board with a contract with Stephens County. Eastland County is not able to take Class C warrants in their jail. The reason is that they are full.

The judge has no teeth when it comes to serving warrants. The contract is not replacing Eastland County…it’s just a supplement to it.

“The court and officers need teeth. They do not have it now. With the contract, they will.”

Motion was made, seconded with all in favor.

 

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