After months of debate and work the Berea City Council has approved the 2019 fiscal year budget and it will take effect starting this July. City Administrator Randy Stone gave a presentation going over some of the notable parts of the budget. He said that one of the biggest achievements of the budget is that the 11 million dollar budget will have a 2.7 million dollar surplus at the end of the next fiscal year.
He went on to talk about the contents of the budget and said that one of the most important aspects is a raise for the city’s first responders. The budget will also allow for the city to hire new employees as well as make current part time positions full time. One position in particular that was mentioned was being able to hire a social worker for the city.
The budget will also continue the current infrastructure projects as well as being new ones throughout the next fiscal year. The work on the exterior of the city hall will continue and Stone also stated that tourism will continue to be funded.
One concerned citizen had brought forth complaints about the budget and the process of creating it. She stated that she felt the public was shut out during work sessions on the budget and that some of the council members were rude to the public and acted unprofessional during meetings. She also felt that the city was handling its funding for tourism and infrastructure poorly.
Before the budget was voted on a motion to reduce funding for certain tourism and arts programs was passed. During voting, councilor David Rowlette voted no on the budget stating that in his opinion the budget was too heavily influenced by special interest groups.
Later on during the meeting Peggy Baker was reappointed to the ethics board.