Radcliff passes $10.7 million budget

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Duvall's proposal finds savings and praise from council

By Marty Finley

Ever a force for fiscal conservatism, Radcliff Councilwoman Barbara Baker lauded Mayor J.J. Duvall’s 2011-12 budget proposal, commending him Tuesday night for the savings he has found.

“I think this is a wonderful budget,” she said.

The $10.7 million budget passed without a battle Tuesday as Duvall declared it a solid step toward making Radcliff a premier city. The plan also includes $1.1 million in stormwater funds.

Councilman Stan Holmes was absent, but the five members present voted unanimously to support the plan without changes.

The savings praised by Baker are best represented in the administrative budget, where Duvall found more than $92,000 to trim. This was made possible by the transition of the city attorney from an employee to contractual position — a savings of more than $12,000 — and realignment of the city clerk and city administrator positions.

The city has beefed up its costs for city council training sessions and plans to start paying HCEC-TV to film its work sessions for an additional $2,900, but Duvall said the increases are nominal compared to the savings found.

Much of the budget is focused on beautification and road improvements with the streetscape project on Dixie Boulevard, a plan to resurface South Wilson Road from Vine Street to Ky. 434 and the widening of Shelton Road from Wilson Road to Meadow Lake Drive.

City employees also will receive a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase under the plan. The increase, Duvall has said, is a triumph for the city.

In public safety, the city is beefing up its presence by retaining two police officers hired with the aid of a federal grant by using local money. The department also will transfer one patrol officer to the detective division, increasing the division’s staff to four.

Duvall said the police department’s $4 million budget reflects an increase in retirement and fuel cost but has been reduced by about $12,000 over last year.

It also is the first time the city has fully funded 43 positions within the department, Police Chief Jeff Cross said. Money also is available for two new cruisers at roughly $77,000, and the city has increased fire department staff from 18 to 19 positions.

In addition, the budget includes money to renovate the lower portion of Colvin Community Center, install new awnings, purchase a lift to bring the city’s pool into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and purchase a generator with support from a federal grant.

The city plans to install a bathroom outhouse at Saunders Springs Nature Preserve and provide around $3,000 to the Forestry Board for the maintenance of trails.

Duvall also told the council he had analyzed the cost of leaf pickup, at about $41,000, and determined the city could perform the work in-house for more than $33,000 less.

The bid for wood debris, meanwhile, was roughly $72,000, a reduction of about $12,000, he said.

The city also plans to continue its support of local agencies, including One Knox at $10,000 and the North Hardin Economic Development Authority at $30,000. But Duvall said the council plans to provide more oversight and scrutiny of the agencies they support by holding routine meetings with the agencies’ representatives.

During budget sessions, some council members expressed concerns about maintaining financial support for One Knox now that BRAC is winding down, and Duvall said he wanted to be mindful of those concerns.

“The disagreements and arguments always (work out),” he said.

The council also approved an amendment to increase the current budget by about $300,000, based in part on windfalls in taxes and fees, such as the insurance premium tax. The tax brought in $153,000 more than expected.

Chief Financial Officer Chance Fox said the increases mean the city won’t need to use reserves to balance the budget.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.