EUREKA SPRINGS -- City council reached agreement on the 2012 budget for the city at its special meeting Feb. 9.
Discussion began with alderman Lany Ballance asking city attorney Tim Weaver if, considering there will be a discussion of Mayor Morris Pate's veto of council's recent vote to cut 20 percent from all departments in the budget, the discussion at this meeting would be legal and above-board.
Weaver said he didn't see a problem with council discussing the budget.
Quickly, alderman Ken Pownall moved to assign a number to the budget resolution and read it for discussion. The vote was 5-0-1, with Ballance abstaining. City clerk Ann Armstrong read the resolution.
Then Pownall moved to reduce a specific line item in the General Fund by $25,000, an amount intended for the purchase of a new police vehicle, until the police department proved a need for it.
Alderman James DeVito said he thought council would adjust the budget after they passed it, and Pownall replied that his concern centered around the fixed asset list of the police department. However, he said, if he could be assured that ESPD would not purchase the vehicle until they really needed it, he would leave the amount in the budget.
Mayor Morris Pate asked Police Chief Earl Hyatt to speak to the issue, and Hyatt replied, "Ken, if you don't want us to buy a patrol car, we won't." He explained that their experience has been that the vehicles last longer with the larger fleet, but he was willing to comply with Pownall's wishes.
Pownall answered that he was not disputing anything, only making sure of the need.
The vote on reducing the general fund by $25,000 was 4-2, with DeVito and alderman Butch Berry voting No.
Pownall moved to approve the amended budget, DeVito seconded, and the vote was 5-0-1, with Ballance abstaining.