Council approves temporary budget, accepts $218K COPS grant for police
by Ron Harris
Oct 02, 2013 | 1787 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Jasper City Council approved operating off a temporary city budget during Tuesday’s council meeting at city hall.

The need for a temporary budget arose because the council has yet to approve a city budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which began Tuesday. That’s expected to come soon, council members said.

Operating expenses for city departments will be based on the fiscal 2013 budget until the council is ready to approve the fiscal 2014 budget.

“At this time, the mayor and I are requesting the council approve all operating expenses for the city departments based on the 2013 budget,” City Clerk Kathy Chambless told the council. “And let that be in place until all of you are completely ready to adopt the 2014 budget, which I think will be soon.”

Council members have spent several hours discussing the 2014 city budget in recent work sessions. The fiscal 2014 budget is expected to top $20 million, Chambless said.

“There’s a lot of work going into it,” council president Gary Cowen said during the meeting.

Cowen said following the meeting the city is operating off level funding based on the 2013 budget.

The council also discussed a recent COPS grant awarded to the city’s police department for $218,460 that will be used to fund two resource officers for three years in the Jasper City Schools.

The two officers will be placed at Walker High School and Maddox Middle School.

The local match that will be required is approximately $75,000, and Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe told council members that the Jasper City school system is expected to provide the match at a rate of $25,000 a year over the next three years.

A police presence will continue to be seen each day at all city schools, Rowe said.

The council unanimously voted to accept the COPS grant for the police department.

In other business, the council:

•approved the minutes from the Sept. 17 council meeting.

•approved a request for a parade permit for Walker High School’s homecoming parade on Oct. 11.

•approved a request for a parade permit for a 5K run at Gamble Park on Nov. 2. The run is being held in memory of Richard Ruble.

•approved Jasper’s First Baptist Church’s request to close 5th Avenue South between 16th and 17th Avenue West on Oct. 30 from 4-8 p.m. for a fall festival.

•heard a report from city purchasing agent Tommy Knight on crushed stone and hauling services.

Knight said bids were opened on Sept. 24 and for crushed stone and recommended awarding the bid to Blount Springs Materials of Cullman.

•accepted an $850 grant from the Samuel Lee Smith Advised Fund to benefit the city’s special needs swimming program. The grant helps pay for students from North Highlands School to swim at the Memorial Park Natatorium.

•approved a $40,000 budget amendment concerning the Jasper Fire Department and introduced a budget amendment regarding a rebate request from Action Properties, which purchased the former Food World property.

•amended the pay rate policy adopted on Feb. 6, 2007, for the city’s police department and other city departments. The current policy limits pay raises to 10 percent for promotions for city employees.

Mayor Sonny Posey suggested the changes to the pay policy for what he called a mistake in passing the policy six years ago.

•adopted a resolution pertaining to three properties that fall under the city’s nuisance abatement ordinance. The properties are located at 1807 Jones Dairy Road, 3604 Lenwood Drive and 1503 Fifth Avenue.