Eureka Springs City Council approves 2017 budget

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Eureka Springs City Council approved the city's 2017 budget Monday night.

Alderman Terry McClung explained that the council held a workshop before the meeting discussing the budget and said there was an error on the proposed resolution. Finance director Lonnie Clark corrected the error, McClung said, and that was the resolution given to the council. He moved to approve the resolution, and the council agreed to do so.

The resolution says the budget is based on estimated revenues and these estimates are subject to change.

The estimated revenues are $3,361,165 for the general fund, $731,500 for the street fund, $283,300 for LOPFI, $427,101 for the capital fund, $1,305,900 for debt service, $6,235 for court automation, $98,452 for firemen's pension fund, $1,531,426 for the water and sewer fund and $1,393,939 for the transit fund.

The estimated expenses are $3,359,864 for the general fund, $628,893 for the street fund, $282,500 for LOPFI, $404,804 for the capital fund, $1,269,418 for debt service, $4,000 for court automation, $94,240 for firemen's pension fund, $1,527,484 for the water and sewer fund and $1,240,377 for the transit fund.

The council moved on to discuss the new fire department bylaws. Alderwoman Kristi Kendrick asked why the department has bylaws in the first place.

"Normally, you have bylaws if there's a corporation," Kendrick said.

Mayor Butch Berry said the bylaws are the result of a collaboration between the fire department's volunteer and full-time services.

"They're set up with a board that reviews procedures so they have to have by law a set of bylaws," Berry said.

McClung pointed out that the fire department is a volunteer organization, and Kendrick said she'd like clarification on that. Berry said the council could defer approving the bylaws until the next meeting, where fire chief Nick Samac could answer questions about the procedure.

"I just would like to understand ... is there an entity out there and what kind?" Kendrick said.

McClung said the volunteer firefighters belong to a nonprofit organization, while the full-time firefighters are employed by the city.

"In order to work together, they establish a set of rules of conduct under which how discipline will be handled making the fire chief the head of the entire organization so if there's matters that have to be conducted between the two organizations, they have a structure to do that by," McClung said.

City attorney Tim Weaver said the proposed bylaws aren't as complex as what was originally proposed.

"What you have before you is a very limited group of rules they've come up with," Weaver said. "Recently, they were looking at more extensive rules. They've tried to hash it down to something, I think, is a lot more manageable."

McClung said the bylaws are a way for everyone involved with the fire department to work together. The department began as a volunteer fire department, he said.

"That's always been there. It's just streamlining things is all it is," McClung said.

"If this is the bylaws of a nonprofit and it says it shall be funded by the annual budget of the city, that concerns me," Kendrick said.

Weaver said the idea is help the two organizations work together.

"That is the intent of it ... is to allow them to cooperate so when they're on a fire, there is unified control and command. The idea is not to leave the volunteers running around doing one thing and the full-time firemen running around doing something else and then having a lack of command and control from above," Weaver said.

McClung said he'd like to defer the subject.

"I understand it because I did it for a long time, but it's no big deal to have the fire chief come down next meeting and take care of it," McClung said. "It's not something that needs to be taken care of immediately."

He moved to defer voting on the bylaws, and the council agreed to do so.

Also at the meeting, alderman Bob Thomas brought up the Arkansas Municipal League's rules for code of conduct during meetings. Thomas recalled going to a conference where the code of conduct was discussed.

"Their presentation was just that courtesy and respect as a whole has gone down in our society and it's critically important that we as a council model courtesy and respect at our meetings," Thomas said.

He moved that the council adopt a code of conduct for its meetings, and the council voted in favor of discussing the code of conduct at its next meeting.

In other business, the council approved the City Advertising and Promotion Commission's recommendation to add Bobbie Foster to the commission. Alderwoman Mickey Schneider said she supported Foster's application.

"She's done it before, so she's experienced, which is good," Schneider said.

The council approved the appointments of Steve "Yip" Vorbeck and David Sallee to the cemetery commission as well.

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at City Hall.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: