Police, budget, bonuses top council agenda

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Rodger Cox is the new part-time Caraway Police officer.

The Caraway City Council met new part-time police officer Rodger Cox during its regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 12.

Caraway Police Chief William "Pete" Hicks told the council that Cox, 29, was working as a part time police officer in Cherry Valley. He said Cox is not certified to be a full time officer but he plans to attend school hopefully in January.

Hicks went on to say they have added a non-paid reserve officer as well. Mayor Riley said the Caraway Police Department has two cars ready with computers and internet access with a third car that will be equipped with the same shortly after the new year.

The Council then reviewed the proposed 2014 budget. After looking through the proposed budget the council unanimously voted to place ordinance 2013-6 adopting the budget on first reading. The first reading passed unanimously and the council voted to suspend the rules and place the ordinance on second reading. The ordinance passed the second and then third readings before being passed unanimously on final vote.

Council member Marvin Browning then asked Mayor Riley if the city employees were going to get a bonus this year. Council member Mark Bell also said he would like to see the city employees get a bonus. Mayor Riley explained that after the costly tornado and ice storm clean-ups the city could not afford to give bonuses this year. Bell and Browning suggested the city employees get $300 instead of the $500 they got last year.

The council spent a long time looking through the budget and trying to find a way to give bonuses. Mayor Riley suggested giving city employees an extra day off for Christmas and New Years and police officers who have to work those days two extra days of vacation at the beginning of the year.

"Our city employees work really hard and they deserve a bonus," Riley said. "I would like to see them get one and so would all of you but I just don't see where we have it. We have some really big bills coming in this month and at the first of the year."

The council agreed to table the issue and continue to review the budget to see if they can find a way to give bonuses. Mayor Riley said if there is a way at all to give bonuses the council will come together in a special meeting before Christmas to vote on that issue.

Riley went on to say the city is moving forward with all of its grants. The senior center grant, which was supposed to go to build a new center, will be used to put a new roof on the existing building. The mayor explained the new building would be much smaller than the existing building and would not house everything the seniors have in their current location. To provide the seniors with the most possible space a new roof on the senior center's current building is the best solution. The city will also be following through with its main street grant project.

"We are not giving up on our main street," Riley said. "We are going to show our citizens something positive and show them we are not losing hope. We will continue with our project of new hydrants, repaving main street and new water lines on main."

Other grants include a FEMA grant for a new brush truck and a grant to build a new concession stand at the park.

Council passed a motion approving the legislative audit of the city's 2012 budget. The audit showed the city to be in good standing and was overall a good report.

Before the council adjourned they had one last order of business accepting the resignation of council member Austin Zamora. Mayor Riley read Zamora's resignation letter which stated he is leaving the council to focus on his college studies and obtain his degree.

"You have done good work," Riley said. "We appreciate the work you have done for the city. I hope the future holds bright and great things for you."

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The Caraway Council looks through the city's financial statements before approving them during Thursday's regular meeting. (Town Crier photo/Christie Zolman)

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