Approval of new Oronogo budget falls short on second reading

New budget bill can be on the June 28 agenda; next fiscal year begins July 1

Oronogo’s 2021-22 budget came close to being approved Monday but on second reading fell short of the four votes needed.

Alderman Tammy Talent (2nd Ward) voted with the three other aldermen who were present to accept first reading and to have the budget bill read a second time – but then she voted “nay.”

Contacted later, she said she decided at the last minute that she wanted more information.

After the 3-1 vote, Mayor Charles Wilkins scheduled a work session for Wednesday, June 16, to continue discussion on the budget. He asked that any suggested changes be submitted to him by email.

The new budget will surely be on the June 28 agenda because the new budget has to take effect on July 1.

A bill to raise city employee wages was tabled because it is dependent on passage of the budget.

The three aldermen voting to approve the budget were Rick Seeley (1st Ward), Jason Grossman (2nd Ward) and Darrell Orender (3rd Ward). Kima Francis (3rd Ward) was absent. 

There are five aldermen instead of six because no one has been appointed yet to fill the 1st Ward seat Wilkins held before he was elected as mayor.

The city clerk’s office at City Hall will close early on Wednesday, June 30, to allow uninterrupted work on closing the current fiscal year. An ordinance was passed amending the current-year budget to match actual revenue and expenses.

OFFICERS CAN TAKE HOME PATROL VEHICLES

The board approved Police Chief Steven Weaver’s request to change policy so that officers can take home their patrol vehicles.

He reasoned that assigning a vehicle to each officer will save the city maintenance expense and extend the number of years the vehicles are in service.

And he said the take-home policy will be a benefit to help retain officers.

If not taken home, the vehicles are used on successive shifts. “It’s hard on a car to be run 24/7,” Weaver said.

He cited Webb City’s take-home policy, which he said has cut maintenance costs by 60% and extended the years before trade-in to eight, according to Police Chief Don Melton.

Under Weaver’s policy:

  • Insurance won’t increase.
  • Officers must live within a 20-mile radius.
  • A GPS device in the vehicles can be used to verify they are not used by an officer when off duty except to go home.
  • Vehicles are to be locked when unoccupied, and no weapons are to be left in the vehicle.
  • Seatbelts must be used.

Seeley also mentioned that it’s better to spread out the vehicles rather than have them parked at the same place in case of a natural disaster.

Weaver said that his previous department has had a take-home policy for 30 years and not had any major issues regarding misuse.

The department has five vehicles.

Prior to the new policy, Weaver and Sgt. Michael Weston have been able to take their assigned vehicles home.

Now three other officers, Cpl. Tony Tuttle, Derrick Richards and Hollis Cady, will be able to take their vehicles home.

ASPHALT BID ACCEPTED

The board approved a motion to accept the low bid of $101,438 from Emery Sapp & Sons for street repair on County Road 215 and in the Greystone subdivison.

Also accepted was a bid from JCI Industries to repair a lift station pump for $5,962 and purchase a Barnes pump for $12,262 from Alliance Pump & Mechanical Service. Both pumps are for the lift station at Jason Place subdivision.

BOARD MEMBERS WANTED

Besides the vacant 1st Ward alderman seat, Wilkins has three other board vacancies to fill because Harold Coffman submitted his resignation from the Planning & Zoning, Adjustments and Park Advisory boards.

“It’s hard to find someone to volunteer,” said Wilkins as he asked aldermen to let him know of candidates to fill the openings.

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