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Demopolis city council approves FY budget

The Demopolis City Council approved a FY 2019-20 budget during a meeting Thursday reflecting operating revenues of over $11 million.

Department and other expenses for the fiscal year are budgeted at $9.96 million. That amount reflects $2.2 million for general government, $1.18 for public works, $1.87 for the fire department, and $1.87 for the police department.

The city has also budgeted over $700,000 for capital expenditures and over $656,000 for debt service.

The largest revenue generation is budgeted for tax collection at $8.4 million with another $1.2 collected through business licensing.

Overall, the budget estimates revenues of over $1.1 million over total expenditures over the fiscal year.

Other items discussed by the council include the following.

• Mayor Laney reported to the council that Randall Smith has been named to the Housing Authority Board and that Lorenzo Moore has been appointed to fill a vacancy for the remainder of a term held by Will Moore.

• Laney also reported that he has been asked, and has agreed to, serve on a committee for the Economic Development of Rural Alabama.

• Councilman Bill Meador reported that a committee reviewing regulations for usage of the Demopolis Civic Center met, but said no regulation changes are recommended at this time. He said there is a need for a security deposit on civic center rentals, stating any changes would be brought to the council in the future.

• The council approved a zoning change at 1245 Hwy. 80 West, at an area near Walmart and Townsend Motors. The change from Residential 2 to Industrial 1 (light industrial) is to accommodate the construction of a 195-feet AT&T communications tower.

Gregg Staggs of AT&T said the construction of the tower will improve service and reflects a $300,000 investment.

• The council approved speed limit decreases for several streets across the city.

• At the request of Building Inspector Julius Rembert, the council approved moving forward with steps for implementing an Appeals Board for those who need variances concerning the city’s property maintenance code. Once established, the city council would serve as the appeals board.

• Police Chief Rex Flowers reported to the council on a number of burglaries and car thefts. He said four houses and three businesses have been targeted and that his department has arrested three suspects with others pending. Of the car thefts, the department has recovered four of the five reported stolen. He added that two vehicles were recovered in Demopolis that were stolen in other cities.

• Councilman Harris Nelson said a request has been made for a speed bump on Cedar Crest. Prior to installing, Flowers will get additional feedback from others who live on the street.

• An ABC license for off-premise beer and wine was approved for Family Dollar.

• Construction bids associated with CDBG funds for improving water and sewer lines in District 1 came in higher than engineer estimates. The council approved moving forward in order to utilize the grant funds with the Water and Sewer Board paying the difference in the cost. The original estimate was $450,000.

• Mayor Laney proclaimed Friday, Sept. 20, as POW/MIA Day in the City of Demopolis. Members of  Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5377 — Coast Guard member assigned to the Cutter Wedge, Petty Officer First Class Jay Butterfield and Fire Chief Rex Flowers — presented the POW/MIA Flag to the council to be flown at city hall.

• A regular scheduled meeting for Thursday, Oct. 17, will be moved from 5:15 p.m. to 11 a.m. at the request of Councilman Nathan Hardy.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, September 25 issue of the Demopolis Times.)