The Guthrie City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday night, September 10 with Ward I Councilman Jim Case the only member missing the meeting. The primary item in the three hour and forty minute meeting was the public hearing on the 2020 fiscal year budget for the city. After the public hearing the council was able to also ask questions to the city manager and the city department heads.
The budget that was proposed and approved was for $12,534,674 which is less than the 2019 budget of $12,925,856 and what is being projected as a final budget of $11,991,897. The City of Guthrie will finish the 2019 fiscal year at $392,916 under their projected budget dollars and will add that to the fund balance at the end of the year (September 30), pushing the fund balance to $1,641,260.
City Manager Leroy Alsup, in the budget presentation, asked the council to approve spending $196,658 from the fund balance for 2020 to balance the budget. Alsup did acknowledge to the council that the city could not do this on a long term basis and if sales tax revenues continued to fall, the council and staff would have to look at the budget again in 2020.
There were several other budget issues on the agenda during the course of the meeting that were approved as other items but will have to be reflected in the new budget down the road.
Crawford and Associates was approved on a 5-1 vote with James Long voting against the contract for $46,000 for the year end review that is required by state law. The council approved the addition of a certified public accountant to the city staff for 2020. If that position is filled, then the need to hire an outside agency to review the books will not be necessary. The other major issue was the purchase of three new Chevy Tahoe’s for the police department and the two VOCA (Victims of Criminal Act) officers. After much discussion as to how the grant money worked the council approved on other new Tahoe if the purchase was not made with CIP Funds (Capitol Improvement Tax). The police department will use money currently tied to one of the five vacant positions and if the department gets to the point of getting the fifth position filled, the police chief is to come back to the council for funding. Those two items were approved unanimously.
The agenda item for putting street repairs out for bid was approved 5-1 after a lively discussion on the matter. Superintendent Tenny Maker tried to explain that the committee tried to prioritize the street issues in priority of repair needs and not necessarily by getting streets in each ward fixed. Maker explained to the council in some cases it made sense to fix the whole street rathan than just the one section if the roads were bad. The committee only has $180,000 to work with in the budget which limits the scope of work to be accomplished.
The council also voted to put Sharyl Padgett on the airport board on a 5-0 vote with Mayor Steve Gentling abstaining. Gentling wanted to nominate former board member Lamar Wade back on the board, but the council went with the request of the board for Padgett.
The council then went into executive session for 73 minutes and when they returned to open session, they approved Kim Biggs as City Clerk/Treasurer; David Hood as City Judge; Billy Wheeler as City Attorney and Alsup as City Manager for the 2020 fiscal year.
The council voted against purchasing or appraising the property formerly known as Furrow Flowers and Double Stop Fiddle Shop and Music Hall on a unanimous vote.
The council adjourned approximately 10:30 p.m., but then had to gavel the Guthrie Public Works Authority Meeting to order. The GPWA made quick work of their agenda and approved their 2020 budget of $8.5 million and the receipt of the permit from DEQ for the sanitary sewer hook-ups for the new Meridian Technology Campus on south Division.
The council will meet for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night.