The Town of Woodbury Mayor and Alderman unanimously passed ordinance 461 on first reading during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday (June 3). The ordinance will require a second reading in July. The ordinance amends the existing schedule of water and sewer rates.
The increase, which amounts to 3 percent, was necessitated due to a state law that will not allow cities to operate with a deficit.
“We have a healthy fund balance in our water and sewer rate,” said Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick. “The problem is the state will not let you run your year at a deficit. You have to have a much coming in as you have coming out. We solicited the help of Anthony Pelham, our engineer, because we have had a deficit. Due to this a small water rate increase may be enacted (in July).”
Woodbury’s last water rate increase was in 2009, according to city officials. The 3 percent increase will amount to approximately $1 or less for citizens, depending on the amount of water used.
“To make (the budget) come out in the black, which is required, my recommendation was approximately a 3 percent increase,” Pelham said. “To be able to stave off an increase for five years is a real good trend to have.”
Alderman Charlie Harrell made the motion to pass ordinance 461, which Alderman Adam Melton seconded.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen also passed ordinance 462 on first reading. The ordinance amends the original budget ordinance for the fiscal year July 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2014. This is done annually.
Ordinance 463 passed unanimously on first reading. The ordinance amends the provisions of Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 4-104 to prohibit the practice of nepotism in the recruitment or employment of Town of Woodbury employees. Under the new ordinance, relatives may be hired if they are the most qualified candidate, according to City Attorney Dale Peterson.
“We don’t have a complete prohibition against hiring family members,” Peterson said. “Our ordinance says if they are more qualified than any other candidate they can be hired. We don’t want to exclude them altogether. Most ordinances have a flat prohibition saying you can’t hire (family members). We are always trying to get the best quality we can so if (a family member) is more qualified they can be hired.”
Harrell made the motion, seconded by Melton. It passed unanimously but requires a second reading in July.
The productive meeting also included passing ordinance 460 to adopt the annual budget and tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2015 on second and final reading.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen also accepted the resignation of outgoing Fire Chief Bill Johnston, who served in that capacity for 32 years. He was a member of the department for 34 years. Johnston will continue to assist when needed in a smaller capacity.
“I want to express my appreciation to (Johnston),” Harrell said. “He has been a good chief and he has done a lot of good things for the fire department and the Town of Woodbury. I want to commend him and thank him for that.”
Patrick recommended current assistant fire chief Joe Loftus to serve as interim fire chief for the time being.
“We need to see where (Loftus) is coming from and he needs to see where we are,” Patrick said.
The board unanimously approved Loftus’ appointment as interim chief.
The board also approved a permit for a Veterans Day Parade to be held Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. in Woodbury. Additionally, the board agreed to sale a lot on Water Street for $10,000.