City adopts FY2013 budget

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Aldermen have adopted the city of Eupora’s budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

They did so during a special called meeting on Sept. 13. The action followed a budget work session on Aug. 13 and a budget hearing on Aug. 27.

When the board came to the budget adoption agenda item last week, Hank Flowers (Ward 4) made a motion to go into executive session for personnel discussion, which the board voted to do.

Aldermen spent nearly 1½ hours in executive session, according to City Clerk Lesa Hardin. After coming back into open session, they voted to adopt the budget as presented less any proposed raises.

The raises will be revisited at the first regular meeting in January, at which time the board will discuss the issue of raises based on the actual appraised value of taxes, Hardin said.

The latter motion by Dan Burchfield (at large), which was seconded by Billy Brister (Ward 2), was approved 4-0; Ricky Newton (Ward 3) was absent. Hardin said Mayor Tommy Lott endorsed the board’s decision.

The city millage rate that was approved Sept. 4 to support the budget will remain at 24 mills and will not result in a tax increase. A Sept. 13 article incorrectly reported that the board would adopt a tax millage resolution that day.

Garan Property Also discussed last week was a matter tabled from Sept. 4, when Larry White told aldermen he was interested in buying part of the city- owned Garan property fronting Highway 9. White said he wanted to buy about 2 acres to erect a building for a potential client, which he identified as a physical therapy/rehabilitation company.

Board attorney Hugh Gibson said at both meetings that the city would have to take bids for the sale of any of the commercial property. Also discussed was the need to appraise the property, and adopting ordinances and covenants regarding design standards and signage.

Lott reported last week that he, Burchfield and Flowers had since met with two representatives of Mississippi State’s Stennis Institute of Government about developing a plan for the best use of the entire property. Burchfield said the institute will first present a formal proposal of services to the city, with minimal costs involved if the city accepts it.

“We’re not at a point where we can do anything as far as Larry White,” said Lott, who agreed to inform him that the city is not in a position to start selling any of the property. “We don’t know yet how we’ll subdivide it.”

Brister said, “We’ve got to have a long-range plan. … We have to take our time and do it the right way.”

Lott added, “We want to see the property developed but it won’t happen overnight.”

The board voted to table the matter again until its October meeting or a called meeting.

Audit Presented Additionally, the Sept. 13 meeting included an audit presentation by Aubrey Holder and Chris Turnipseed of Watkins, Ward and Stafford.

The city received a “clean” opinion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011.