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Shirley council OKs 2013 budget

The Shirley City Council approved the city’s budget for 2013 at its Dec. 17 meeting.

The budget it tight, according to City Councilwoman Brandy Kimmons who pointed out that the city was spending more than it was taking in, which would cause the projected carryover funds to end. Kimmons proposed dropping spending for the annual Homecoming to $2,500 and try to obtain sponsors. She also suggested decreasing the amount budgeted for park upkeep by half.

Mayor Johnny Sowell said he had spoken with Van Buren County Sheriff Scott Bradley about the possibility of the Quorum Court picking up the city’s half of the salary for the school resource officer. Bradley, according to minutes from the meeting, said the county had already passed its 2013 budget, but that might be a possibility for 2014.

Sowell also said the county judge said the county might be able to offer some help on road repairs.

The vote was unanimous to pass the budget on its third draft with inclusion of the Homecoming and park adjustments.

Also at the Dec. 17 meeting:

• The council animously decided not to renew its cable TV franchise agreement, which was non-exclusive and did little to benefit the city.

• Council members directed the mayor to get bids on work needed to replace water lines on Fourth Street with 4-inch lines and install fire hydrants. Sowell will have bids to present at the January meeting.

• The council decided to look into the finances of the Senior Center. Kimmons said the costs to maintaint the operation has increased dramatically while fewer people were attending the center. Sowell said he would discuss the situation with Penny Stringer, director fo the Van Buren County Aging Program.

Toward the end of the meeting, a plaque was presented to outgoing Councilman Ray Earnhart for his 12 years of service in Position 2 on the City Council. Earnhart said he had enjoyed serving the city.

The council members will be sworn in at the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 14.

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