Caraway Council talks 2014 budget
The Caraway City Council reviewed a proposed 2014 budget at its regular meeting Thursday, Nov. 14.
Caraway Mayor Barry Riley went through the proposed budget saying everything will basically stay the same. He did say the budget for the Caraway Fire Department was cut by $1,000 because the payments that department has to make went down this year but fireman pensions have increased to $15,000. Riley said utilities for the fire department have gone up but the utilities for city hall have decreased as well as repair expenses for city hall.
"The cemetery costs are down, advertising and legal are up to $2,000, tornado siren expense is up, and nothing has changed on the street budget except we have the new state tax that will bring $6,000 into that department," Riley said. "We have the Main Street project, which we applied for a grant, that will be about $25,000 to replace lines and hydrants."
The city is looking at replacing four hydrants in 2014 and replacing or repairing 1200 feet of line on main street. Caraway water superintendent Terry Couch said the city will know about the grant in January but even if the city doesn't get the grant to pay for project, the city will still need to consider doing the repairs. Couch feels the water department and street department can do the project without affecting a single household in Caraway. The Council will review the proposed 2014 budget and vote on it at its December meeting.
Caraway Police Chief Pete Hicks said the city has received three applications for police officers. He will be conducting interviews and will hopefully have a recommendation for a new hire at next month's meeting.
Hicks also informed the council the police department has received two free laptops this year and a third one is on its way. He asked the council to pass a motion that will allow the police department to install those laptops in the three police cars with internet so officers can better communicate with other police agencies and have instant information of people they stop.
The council approved providing internet access in the police cars. Hicks also said there is one police vehicle in need of a transmission, which will cost up to $2,000 the council gave the chief permission to get the car repaired.
Before discussing tornado damage that occurred on Halloween, the council passed resolution 2013-2 which states the city will use its 1.8 mills for personal property. The passing of the millage useage is an annual requirement.
Riley said during the tornado cleanup the city borrowed a new Riggs CAT front loader and the hood was damaged. The city will have to pay the $7979.61 to replace the hood. The council approved paying for the hood out of the street equipment repair fund.
"I want to thank everyone that came to help our city the night of the tornado and help with the clean up afterwards," Riley said. "I'm so glad no children were injured. We want to thank the people that took children into their homes that night to keep them safe. I want to thank Scott Browning and the Sheriff's office who did a very good job of going door to door making sure everybody was safe.
"Thanks to all the area fire departments and police departments that showed up to help. We can't thank those folks enough. Bo James and Robert Williams did a really good job of overseeing the clean-up. There is nothing bad that can be said about what the county road crew did. They worked really hard to make sure our town got put back together. Thanks to the Jonesboro Road Crew, the Baptist Men's association that came in and fed us and brought their cutting crews in. We appreciate what they did for us."
Riley went on to thank the Red Cross for their immediate response of helping clear debris, setting up shelter and feeding crews and others. He thanked the Baptist Church in Caraway for opening its doors as a shelter even though the church had sustained damage. Riley also thanked all the farmers and the people in the town who worked to clean-up.
"Overall it was a three day clean-up and the support we got was phenomenal," Riley said. "We can't say thank you enough to all those that helped us."
Water superintendent Couch said he would be sending letters thanking the area water departments that loaned generators and came to help make sure the citizens of Caraway did not lose water while the city was recovering from the tornado.
Mayor Riley said the city is looking forward to its annual Christmas parade being held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.
The Caraway City Council reviews the proposed 2014 budget at its regular meeting Nov. 14. (Town Crier photo/Christie Zolman)