Manila City Council members reviewed the budget and heard updates on the new employee retirement plan, water improvement project, and airport improvement project at the regular council meeting May 16. Street paving, cable service, and ambulance service were among other topics discussed.
Manila Mayor Clifford Veach reported the overall budget looks good.
Veach did express his concerns on the fuel system at the Manila Airport.
"I've had one call from a guy from Fort Worth saying he thought he had been overcharged," Veach said. "We lost a lot of money in fuel last year. I've been dissatisfied with it since we started. The city wants to be able to offer the service but we may need to look into it."
Mayor Veach informed the council the employee retirement plan started in May.
"Also, the hourly wage plan was signed by employees and started at the first of the month," Veach said. "They seem to be happy with it."
Veach explained the Manila city employees have money in a savings account that the city has been contributing to. He said the money cannot legally be rolled over into the new retirement program.
"The money was put into a special account for them," Veach said.
Councilman Dwight Booth asked if the employees could roll it over into an IRA for pre-tax.
"Since it is their money and we can't do anything with it, I make a motion we give the money to the employees," Councilman Leroy Douglas said.
Council members voted unanimously in favor of taking the money from the savings account and giving it to the employees.
Veach said the water improvement project will not be finalized until after the audit in June. He also informed the council that work on the airport taxi-runway extension project has begun and it should be ready for paving in the near future.
"Property clean-up is moving along," Mayor Veach said. "The spring clean-up has been successful so far."
Water supervisor Henry Ford said the trucks were lined up all day Saturday at the transfer station.
Veach said he had met with an engineer who had measured parking on Baltimore Street.
"He will have a plan and send us a recommendation on marking the street," Veach said.
Street paving was discussed. Mayor Veach asked the council for recommendations on street paving or repair. He encouraged the council members to look at streets to determine the needs.
"I would like to advertise for bids on paving in June," Veach said.
Several Streets were mentioned for possible paving. Councilman Booth asked about the street behind the shoe factory.
Veach said several streets may need patching.
Mayor Veach announced the ambulance service, Medic One, has entered into a partnership with the county hospitals to manage their ambulance services.
"I think we are going to get relief from that," Veach said. "Our run count is getting up and I don't see how this can do anything but help us."
Veach also announced the city's cable service, Cebridge, has sold to Ritter Communications.
"I don't see any negative in it," Veach said. "I want Wayne (Wagner, city attorney) to review the paperwork before I sign it. I didn't see any immediate changes at all."
Veach also read a letter from the Municipal League informing the city's health insurance rate will not change this year.
Councilman Davis and Mayor Veach met with the person who got the boll weevil spraying contract in this area.
"We signed the same contract as last year," Veach said. "The only difference is he is going to pay us monthly. It seemed we are dealing with a reputable person."
Veach said the city received $400 (15 percent) from the carnival that was in town May 11-14.