published Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Red Bank leaders OK $6.5 million budget

The Red Bank City Commission approved a $6.5 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year during a specially called meeting this week.

The meeting, called for the budget to be heard on second reading, took place the day after the commission approved the budget on first reading at its regular meeting.

The budget, which comes in at $6,585,865 -- an increase of 32 percent over last year's budget of $4,909,661 -- includes a 2 percent across-the-board pay raise for the city's employees, a $1 million appropriation to repave the city's secondary roads and will not raise the city's property taxes.

The city has 60 full-time and 28 part-time employees.

The increase to the budget with no tax hike was made possible by the city's large rainy day fund balance, city finance director John Alexander said.

"We've got a fund balance that we feel is pretty healthy, so we're going to use our fund balance to do the paving," Alexander said.

The primary reason for the sharp increase from last year's budget are several large, one-time buys, the largest being the amount budgeted to pave roads.

The city is aiming to repave 30 secondary roads across Red Bank, Mayor John Roberts said.

Other large, one-time purchases include a new roof for the city hall and about $200,000 budgeted for demolition of condemned houses in case owners don't handle the demolition themselves, Alexander said.

The second reading on Wednesday was a quick affair, with no citizens present and the commission taking just long enough to read the budget ordinances and vote.

Additionally, the city would not be holding a special election to fill the empty District 3 commission seat, Mayor Roberts said.

According to City Attorney Arnold Stulce, the city charter does not specify a period of time in which the commission has to make an appointment, and therefore the commission will wait to replace its final member until the November 2014 election, or until the current members can agree on an appointee.

The 2014-15 budget will go into effect July 1.

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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