Miller’s City Council met September 17, heard from department heads, approved the budget for the coming year, and talked about bottom-line changes to cut spending.
Bill Lewellen, electric department, said that except for ALCO and Miller Veterinary Clinic, most of the industrial park is now cut over to the new substation. Primary work on the west side of Miller is now energized. Lewellen said electric work in done in residential areas during the day, and in the business district after hours.
He reported on the meeting with Midcontinent Cable Systems, and said agreement was reached that Midcontinent will pay $50,000 for trenching.
Jim Bonebright, water department/airport, reported on work completed at the airport. Drain tile work has been completed around Jim Schick’s building, and the new road at the airport is nearly complete. The new water main at the airport is now installed.
Bonebright reported the City only has one well in working condition, and he said the final working well at Crystal Park has problems. He said the City needs to consider digging a new well, 1300-feet-deep, for back up, and he will make inquiries about prices.
Ron Hoftiezer, street department, said quite a bit of patching is taking place on town streets. Department workers helped Hand County resurface the courthouse parking lot, and took down the fence at the tennis courts by the football field, to allow more parking.
The Council accepted the resignation of police officer Doug Davis. Alderman Joe Zeller said the police committee recommended to advertise for a new officer.
Alderman Jim Odegaard questioned the need for an officer on duty 24/7, and Alderman Tony Rangel questioned a new hire, considering that the proposed cuts included “freeze on buying equipment and hiring.”
Police chief Shannon Speck stated that if an officer were “on call” rather than “on duty,” response time to a call would be slowed, and the department would be understaffed.
Rangel suggested the Council take more time to consider the question, and Mayor Ron Blachford said no action would be considered until the next meeting.
Discussion was also held about students’ “toilet papering” during homecoming week, and the feeling that the situation got out of hand. Police officer Wayne Ames reported he had spoken with students regarding “TP’ing,” but acknowledged Thursday night’s activity upset some residents, and he suggested to the residents that they talk to the city attorney about legal options.
Mayor Blachford commented that he wanted it “on the record” that he had tried to follow though with everything the school and residents had wanted done, but it shouldn’t be up to the City or the police department to keep everything in line. “I think this has been misconstrued, and I’m tired of it,” he stated.
Laura Smith, finance officer, said park donations to date are down from 2010 and 2011. Sales tax comparison through August shows receipts of $470,302.62 was down from 2011 by $12,819.27.
Swimming pool comparisons between 2011 and 2012 were also given. Amount collected for pool fees, lessons and parties was higher in 2012, but the number of swimmers using the pool totaled 1,196 fewer in 2012.
Dick Palmer, Wheels & Meals, asked tires for the mini-bus could be purchased through the City, and Miller Housing would immediately reimburse the City. By doing so, the cost of the tires would be less. The Council agreed to check the legality of the action before making a decision.
The Council approved Ordinance 639, a franchise agreement with Midcontinent Cable Systems for a period of 15 years. They also set October 1 at 7:30 p.m. for a liquor license transfer for Sommer’s Bar.
Also approved was the appropriations ordinance for 2013, which will be published in the October 3 issue of The Miller Press.
The general fund appropriations for 2013 totaled $1,065,069.00, compared to last year’s general fund budget of $1,487,812.00.
Total appropriations (including water, sewer, electric, airport, trust and debt service) totaled $4,141,103.00, over the total of 2012 by $71,319.00, but indicating more brought in from the enterprise funds.
General fund amounts budgeted do reflect significant cuts from the previous year budget (in parentheses), as follows: Mayor/Council 30,020 (33,131); Attorney 17,080 (11,035); Elections 1,500 (1,500); Finance Office 104,280 (124,995); Zoning 500 (600); Miller Housing 0.00 (8,800); Building 21,950 (26,656); Civil Defense 1,000 (1,000); Police 273,890 (301,699); Fire 24,850 (55,712); Court 500 (500); Street 335,600 (571,790); Mini-bus 2,300 (2,300); Park 22,400 (48,085); Ballpark 16,475 (24,600); Pool 69,124 (114,049); Museum 1,600 (2400); Advertising 0.00 (17,000); Industrial Development 132,000 (132,000), Contingency 10,000 (10,000).
The Mayor’s proposed budget cuts, made at the last meeting, along with a proposal to hold one meeting a month instead of two, will be discussed at length and finalized at the next meeting. Those proposals were listed in the September 12 issue of the Press.
Laura Smith reported the “Hot Pink” 2012 Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign that the City has joined. So far, about half of the $1,000 goal for Miller has been met, and money is to be delivered to Pierre October 6, when a Strides Walk Against Breast Cancer walk will be held.
The next meeting is scheduled for October 1 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.