(Editor’s note: This meeting was held prior to the stay-at-home order issued by the governor. The meeting for April 2 has now been cancelled until further notice.)
MASON — The Mason Town Council adopted its fiscal year 2020/2021 budget, including increased property taxes, when the most recent meeting was held.
Present were Mayor Donna Dennis, Recorder Harley Stewart, and council members Marty Yeager, Sharon Kearns, Steve Ohlinger, Becky Pearson and Sarah Stover.
The levy rate for residents within the municipality was raised from 8.94 percent per $100 of property value to 9.16 percent, which will generate additional funds for the town. The estimated income to be gained by the increase is $2,000.
There were no other significant changes to the income of the $547,670 budget. A number of changes were made to the expenditures, however.
The line item for the police judge increased from $2,500 this year to $21,630 next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Also among the increases were town hall from $120,753 to $129,290; streets and highways from $15,000 to $20,000; and storm sewer from $7,500 to $20,000.
Also during the meeting, there was much discussion regarding the lease-to-purchase of a new police vehicle.
It was reported at a previous meeting that the 2013 Ford Taurus was wrecked for a third time, and would be over $5,000 to fix. Councilman and Police Commissioner Yeager said around $40,000 has been spent on the car, including the original $20,000 that was paid for the used vehicle.
Dennis said she felt that the two police vehicles remaining, a 2016 Taurus and 2018 Durango, are sufficient for the four officers. She added she would like to see where the town is financially in six to eight months, and not allow officers to take vehicles home. The council has said in past months that the town is in a financial crunch, spending more than it is taking in.
“Everyone is giving up a little at this time,” the mayor said. “I’m not saying no forever.”
Chief Colton McKinney assured the council he had the funds in his budget to make the lease payment. In the end, the purchase was tabled until the next meeting.
In other action, the council:
Accepted the resignation of part-time Patrolman Zach Beegle;
Suspended the hiring of a part-time office worker while the office is closed due to COVID-19;
Accepted the resignation of Recorder Stewart as the treasurer (only), with Darlene Roach being appointed to that position;
Tabled ordering dumpsters for spring clean up; and,
Held the third and final reading of the construction/building permit ordinance.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.