BY REVIS BLAYLOCK Town Crier News Staff
Manila City Council approved the issuance of municipal bonds for water improvement project, reviewed the 2003 budget, approved the 2004 budget, agreed to do away with privilege license fees, passed an ordinance repealing the establishment of an Airport Commission, and discussed jail fees and street paving.
A public meeting was held prior to the council meeting to get public input regarding the water improvement project.
Ordinance 2004-02 was passed setting the water rates.
City Attorney Wayne Wagner explained that this ordinance confirms Manila's existing water rates.
"It does not increase the water rates at all. It just sets them at their present rate," City Attorney Wayne Wagner said. "All of this was worked out in 2002 with the tax increase to fund the project."
The 2004-03 bond ordinance passed unanimously.
"This ordinance authorized the construction of extensions, betterments and improvements of the water facilities of Manila," Wagner said. "By authorizing the issuance of sales and used tax and water and sewer revenue bonds for the purpose of financing the cost of the water project."
Mayor Veach said all of this will allow the bid process to go ahead.
"We are anxious to get it going," Veach said.
Among the work the $300,000 water project will include is restoring the old water reservoir to be in use while the new one is being refurbished, along with new filtering systems installed.
The project will be funded through one fourth of the one cent sales tax passed by the citizens of Manila in 2002.
Mayor Veach gave each council member a copy of the 2003 budget to review.
"In 2003 we amended several accounts, but I feel like for the year we stayed within our budget," Mayor Veach said. "One thing I can promise is the beginning and the end balance is accurate. I review the bank statements myself each month. I'm very well pleased with the accounting of the city's money. I feel the council needs to know what is in the bank. Next month I will talk more about this when I give the State of the City address."
Each council received a copy of all city employees' accumulated vacation and sick days.
Veach informed the council that the sewer expansion project is near completion and the final inspection has been made commenting that he does not expect any problems.
Mayor Veach then updated the council on the county jail fee dispute.
"I've met with various mayors that are involved since our last meeting and Quorum Court member Michael White and there has been a notice of appeal filed on the judge's ruling. It could be toward the end of the year before this is resolved. I certainly am in favor of the appeal," Veach said.
Veach said that the street paving did not get underway in 2003. Veach said he plans to meet with the auditors to find out if the bid can be held until March when the weather gets warmer.
"As far as the company, I was told that the bid is good until the job is done," Veach said. "I will check with the auditors. Provisions have been made in the new budget."
Council voted unanimously to accept the 2004 proposed budget.
"The budget is sometimes a goal," Veach said. "This is the best I could do. I think it is a good budget but things can happen out of our control and we just have to roll with it."
Councilman Tony Hawkins suggested that the city do away with the fee for privilege license.
Councilman Dwight Booth asked how much money the city gets from the fee. Mayor Veach said the city collected less than $500.
Chief of Police Jackie Hill commented that for the protection of area citizens, it is important to know who is going door to door doing business in town.
The council agreed that the privilege license will still be required for businesses and for door to door sales. Anyone coming into town to do business will need to check in at city hall and get a license even though there will be no fee charged.
Councilman Hawkins made a motion to dissolve the Airport Commission. Ordinance 2004-04, repealing Ordinance 2003-03 (establishing the airport commission), was read. A discussion was held on whether to place the ordinance on the first reading and wait or suspend the rules and hear all three readings.
Hawkins said he did not have a problem waiting but it would not change his mind on his vote.
The council agreed to suspend the rules, read the ordinance three times, and act on it.
The council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance removing the airport commission.
The commission was established in February of 2003 to oversee the airport and make recommendations to the city council.
Mayor Veach informed the council that the city's garbage truck was in the shop with transmission problems. The estimated cost for repairs is $5,000 to $5,500.
"I would like a motion to fix it and later in the year we need to start thinking about trading it in," Veach said. "It has been a good truck."
The council voted unanimously to have the truck repaired.