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City passes balanced budget

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By Will Phillips

By Will Phillips

news@hclocal.com

The Eminence City Council conducted its first reading of the new budget for fiscal year 2014-2015. According to Mayor Drane Stephens, the budget, if passed next month after the second reading, would keep the town fiscally afloat for the next year.

“Our focus was, of course, to have a balanced budget, but with minimal increase,” Stephens said. “And to use our existing funds and not to borrow any money for the Waste Water Treatment Plant Expansion Program. We were able to accomplish that.”

In addition, Stephens said that the budget has met goals across the board, including the hiring of a seventh part-time police officer for the Eminence Police Department while decreasing the police budget. There was also a cost of living increase, but with “no other merit increases,” according to Stephens. The budget will also finish the year with money being carried over to next year, according to the mayor.

In other business:

•The council also addressed the issues of new businesses coming to Eminence and confirmed that the McDonald’s will open on May 29, with the new bank scheduled to open in July. Johnson’s Flooring Company will be opening this week, as well.

•Stephens also addressed the city government’s upcoming move to going paperless, saying, “We found, as we were studying the use of paper in our [work that] just the volume of paper that we create and have that distributed to all the council members have made a decision to try the best we can to go paperless and go all electronic.” Stephens added that the city will be purchasing new technology to aid in this switch.

“We’ll be purchasing in the next budget inexpensive tablets for all the council members, the city clerk, the mayor and the attorney, distributing all pertinent paperwork, budgets, ordinances, minutes and all related paper electronically using this new data source.”