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By JENNIFER RAYMOND
Rockwood City Council has approved the first reading of the city’s proposed fiscal budget for 2008-09.
The budget does not include a property tax increase. It will remain at 85 cents per $100 valuation.
‘Times are hard on people right now,’ Mayor Mike ‘Brillo’ Miller said.
‘I just didn’t feel like it was the proper time to hit the people of Rockwood with a tax increase.’
Councilman James Neal pointed out that a major reason the city did not have to look at an increase was because of sales tax.
‘We have a huge influx in the budget of sales tax,’ Neal said. ‘I think we need to thank our retailers.’
Total revenue and expenditures expected are slightly more than $6.03 million.
This includes a 5-percent raise for all city employees, which will take $116,500 of the budget.
Employees can also expect a one-time bonus of $500, which will be another $32,000 of the budget.
According to city recorder Jim Hines, the cost of living has increased 4 percent, not including costs of gas and food.
‘Times are hard for everybody,’ Miller said. ‘We need to try and help them at least keep it close.’
The city will also provide a $2-an-hour pay increase for the part-time firefighters.
According to Miller, they have not seen a rate increase in three or four years.
This will cost the city $12,000 a year.
The budget also calls for a new position for the city, an industrial recruiter.
The purpose of this position will be to recruit and encourage businesses and developments to the city.
‘It’s someone to do what I can’t and neither can these councilmen because there’s just not enough hours in the day,’ Miller said.
Councilman Dudley Evans added, ‘We need someone to market it. We have a lot of great things in Rockwood.’
Miller said he has a recommendation for the position, which he will present at the June 16 council meeting.
This line item added $50,000 to expenditures, which includes salary, travel, material and expenses.
The city also decided to borrow money for capital improvements in a capital outlay note for 12 years.
‘We have some needs that we need to handle,’ Miller said.
Money from this loan will be used to buy a garbage truck, dump truck, fire pumper truck, fire rescue truck, golf fairway motor and parks and recreation tractor with loader.
It also includes $419,800 in street paving.
‘Paving is the one thing you hear as a council member all the time,’ Evans said.
The money will also be used for improvements to the fire hall.
This loan will add $105,100 to the debt service, totaling $401,170 for 2008-09.
The next vote on the budget will be at the June council meeting.
‘I’m proud to be sitting on council with this budget,’ Councilman Ray Collett said.