The Elba City Council passed the Fiscal Year 2020 budget during its meeting Monday night, a $3.9 million document for anticipated revenues and expenditures. Mayor Mickey Murdock said the expected operational revenues would be $3,662,380. With restrictive revenues, the total expected revenues for the year would be $3,982,380. Anticipated operational expenses would be $3,657,814 with non-operational expenses and debt retirement of $390,723. The budget indicates revenues are expected to exceed expenditures by $4,566. The fiscal year budget does have funds figured in for employee raises up to three percent; however, raises are dependent upon employee evaluations at his/her anniversary date. The mayor did note the new budget overall was very similar to the previous year in regards to funding. Council members voted unanimously to approve the FY2020 budget as presented following a motion by council member Tom Maddox and a second from council member A R Williams. The council voted to approve a motion to allow the mayor to enter into an agreement for a new CAD [Computer-Aided Dispatch] System contract for the Elba Police Department. This is a joint contract between the City of Elba, Coffee County, and E911. According to the contract, Coffee County E911 would supply the first $30,000 to get the new system up and going, and then Elba and Coffee County would each pay $30,141 for the system. The motion to allow the mayor to enter into this agreement on behalf of the city was made by council member Tom Maddox with a second from council member A R Williams. It passed unanimously. A follow-up look at the 329 Brunson Circle property that had been deemed as an unsafe property by Code Enforcement officer William Worthington came up again during Monday evening’s meeting. The matter had been postponed 30 days from a meeting in August to allow the property owner more time to address the issue. Matt Brunson, speaking on behalf of his mother Nancy Brunson, the property owner, said the home is not presently rented and his mother does not plan to rent it. He said that property currently is only being used for storage. Brunson described several things he said that had been done to the property over the past month to hopefully address some of the concerns for that property; however, he said the roof and walls are intact. “We ask that it not be torn down,” Brunson said. The city’s new code enforcement officer Bryson Dear said he had looked at the property earlier on Monday and from what he could tell he did not see where anything had been done to the property other than yard maintenance. Council member Jane Brunson asked Mr. Brunson had they gotten a licensed contractor to look at the property during the past 30 days. He said he had not. Worthington, also in attendance Monday night, said his concerns for the property included leaning columns and a foundation issue. He said those things make the home unsafe in his determination. Disagreeing with Worthington’s assessment, Brunson let it be known that he would appeal the matter in court should the city vote to move forward with the demolition process on this property. Dear noted if the council voted to move forward, there still would be time for Brunson to address the property issues to keep it from being handled by demolition. He said applying for a building permit would put that process on hold. Dear said to Brunson that he would be more than willing to work with him on this matter should he want to address the property issues and bring it up to safe conditions. Brunson thanked Dear for that willingness. Council members mulled over the matter for several minutes, noting sympathy for Brunson regarding this property but also concern that he had not gotten a licensed contractor to look at the property within the past 30 days after they tabled the matter in August. In the end, Mayor Murdock made a recommendation in the form of a motion to table the matter again until the Oct. 14th council meeting. He received a second from council member Williams, and the motion passed unanimously. The lights project for the decorative lights across the streets around the downtown square in Elba again was discussed by council members. The ultimate decision here was to approve a motion made by council member Maddox with a second from council member Jones to have five strands of lights across each street. These lights will be able to be adjusted via a dimmer switch. The original plan was to go with five strands, and the council decided after looking at three versus four strands that going back to the original idea of five strands would be best. Council members also discussed during Monday evening’s meeting a request made last month by business owner Chris Foley for a town hall meeting to allow public input on the state DOT’s plan to change intersections in the downtown area from traffic lights to either 4-way or 2-way stops. The council had discussed this request during a work session held Thursday, Sept. 19th. Monday night, council member Rolanda Jones made a motion to wait for now but to look at holding a town hall meeting after the state’s 60-day trial study of the traffic lights on a flashing setting for the intersections’ change to stop signs. And, she added to the motion that city officials make this town meeting about other important matters for the city as well when it does set a date for the meeting. The motion to look at holding the town hall meeting at a later date was approved. In other business, the council voted to appoint Ceina Spicer to another term on the cemetery board.

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