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Council makes budget changes

DEMOPOLIS-Natural disasters and the relocation of city offices caused the Demopolis City Council to move toward changes in the city’s budget.

The police department recently made the move to Washington Street from their facility on U.S. Highway 43, which they shared with the municipal court. Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said this created a problem with bill payments

“The municipal court needs to be amended because the court and the police were sharing some items,” Williamson said. “Now, because the police department has moved onto Washington Street there needs to be an amendment.”

When the two shared their facility, the police department had taken care of utilities. However, with the department completely out, the council voted to add $6,600 to the court’s budget to cover the costs.

One option was to reduce the police budget. However, Williamson said they needed their budget in tact.

“We don’t need to do anything to reduce their budget,” Williamson said. “They are going to need all of their budget.”

The extra money will go toward items such as gas, sewage and electricity.

Fall hurricanes added another wrinkle in the city budget. Demopolis Fire Chief George Davenport said high winds in the early fall caused the fire department’s budget to hit a snag.

“The budget for Federal Care and Maintenance for the fire department was $8,000,” Davenport said. “But when Hurricane Katrina came in it did about $8,200 worth of damage.”

The department, Davenport said, would get some of the money the spent back, but they needed help to get things back on track.

“We have gone over budget,” Davenport said. “Insurance will pay roughly $6,000, but I am requesting $8,000 to get us back on line where we were starting the budget year.”

Only some of the money, Williamson said, would come back to the department. She said most would be set-aside in emergency funds.

“The revenues don’t get credited back to his account,” Williamson said. “What their concern is, at the end of the year it could look like he is way over budget when actually he is not because the insurance money goes into the insurance hurricane account.”

The money was strictly for upkeep of the department, Davenport said. They had no plans to use the funds for expansion.

“This is nothing to do any major construction or anything like that,” Davenport said. “It is just in case something breaks. We have two facilities and an air conditioner can go out or anything along those lines.”

The council voted unanimously to grant the funding.