Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins said last week he delivered a proposed budget to aldermen by the Dec. 1 deadline but he changed his mind about calling a special meeting to address the 2017 spending plan.
But the calendar changed it back.
Wilkins had said during the Nov. 28 city council meeting he would have the budget finalized by Dec. 1 and said there was a possibility of having an early meeting to pass the budget.
By Friday he had decided the budget could wait until the council’s regular meeting on Dec. 26, but since that is a holiday for city employees, the meeting has been changed to Monday, Dec. 19.
That meeting will now apparently be the last for Larry Dean Mitchell and Guy Robson, who were unseated in the General Election in November by Robert Smith and Aaron Brewer, respectively;.
Wilkins said Friday the reason there is no need for a meeting is the 2017 and 2016 budgets are “pretty similar.”
The most significant change, the mayor said, addresses retirement pay of former mayor Brian Mueller and city clerk Melinda Smith.
Combined those account for $35,900 in general administration expenditures.
In November the council approved retirement pay for former Mayor Brian Mueller at half Wilkins’ current salary, not half the salary when Mueller left office after 12 years on Dec. 31, 2002.
Wilkins said although the city’s one percent sales tax dedicated to city entities should easily surpass the $600,000 mark, likely reaching $625,000, for the first time since the Cargill fire, his proposed budget is only anticipating $560,000 again in 2017.
“I’m anxious to see what it does after the new jail tax takes effect,” he said. “I always like to budget everything (income related) low. I’m not sure we’ll get to $600,000 (again) but that won’t make a big difference because that money is going in so many different places.
“General improvement gets 30 percent so it would just get less (if the tax drops). The difference would be for people like the Chamber of Commerce if it drops.”
In July county voters assessed themselves a one percent sales tax to build, equip and staff a new detention center in Paris. That tax takes effect Jan. 1, and will raise the collection in Booneville to 10.5 percent on non-grocery items.
The budget does not reflect raises for city employees. Aldermen approved a $1,000 bonus for employees in November.