Claremore Daily Progress

June 12, 2013

Public no show for budget meeting

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

The Claremore City Council asked the public Monday to provide comments on the 2013-14 budget, but no one showed up.
Councilor Brandon Smith was the only member to question the budget during the meeting.
The budget will require fee adjustments to water, sewer and solid waste disposal fees.
It also will include a plan for the city to retain $1.3 million reduction in energy rates.
One of the primary projects for the budget will be the $3 million expansion of Country Club Road.
City management is not stopping there with new money being allocated into major areas for infrastructure improvements, including $350,000 in utility improvements.
Smith asked City Manager Jim Thomas if management in some departments would take issue with the pay increases given to subordinates that would nearly equalize their pay.
“It would bother me,” Smith said.
Thomas did not believe any issue would exist, and stated that city officials will be reviewing the levels of pay. The city is raising the pay of 25 city employees to bring them above the “poverty” standard in which the employees earn less than $25,000 a year.
Beyond the pay increases, the city is continuing to work to reduce overtime expenses for departments.
Thomas said that the purchase of two new sanitation vehicles is included in the budget and will help decrease overtime expenses.
“I am confident it will be substantially reduced,” Thomas said.
The maintenance of the vehicles has also been brought in house helping to lower downtime, therefore lowering overtime, he said.
The council concluded the public hearing and met in executive session to discuss pending legal action regarding the release of police videos to the public.
The council decided to continue litigation in opposition of the matter and more information will be provided as it becomes available.
Council will be meeting 6 p.m. on Monday at City Hall for their regularly scheduled meeting.