Marietta Council discusses budget

Marietta City Council introduced legislation concerning the 2019 city budget and authorizing 2019 hires.

The budget, a total of $37,669,055, will be voted upon either on Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. or at a to be determined special council meeting before the end of the year.

Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf moved to suspend the second reading of the budget Thursday, citing the timeline to pass the budget by the end of the year.

But Councilwoman Cindy Oxender voiced disappointment with the times that budget hearings were held, stating the times were not conducive to allowing the working public to attend and voice opinions on the department budgets.

“I will not be voting to suspend those rules, because I want to give the taxpayers every option to voice concerns,” she said.

All budget hearings were held during business hours over the last two months.

Major funds, namely streets, police, fire, health department and municipal court, saw similar appropriations introduced Thursday as in 2018.

The budget ordinance, Ordinance 137 (18-19) will be available upon public information request to the council clerk Nancy Johnson.

Other business:

Council also authorized the hiring of a water administration clerk for the city, with a starting hourly rate of $14.46 per hour.

The position is to be a full-time administrative clerk to be paid out of the enterprise fund built by revenues into the water fund.

The hire is to occur after Dec. 10.

“I always vote in favor of new hires to the safety services in the city but I cannot support an additional administrative hire,” said Councilwoman Cindy Oxender, prior to giving the sole nay vote on the ordinance.

Meanwhile, council also introduced legislation to authorize the employment of an additional firefighter for the city between Jan. 14 and Feb. 28 in anticipation of a pending retirement within the department.

“That will at least help the city financially to not have to fork over a bunch of overtime money and keep our department fully equipped so we won’t be short-handed,” said Police and Fire Chairman Steve Thomas.

The justification for the overlap in hires, he said, expands the currently authorized workforce from 27 employees to 28 employees for that timeframe, allowing for training and should prevent a lapse in needed manpower.