Budget, treasurer decisions made by Lewisburg Council

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lewisburg councilmen took more steps Friday toward: adopting a budget to start July 1; and hiring a new city treasurer.

A public hearing on the proposed spending plan, totaling $9.6 million, is scheduled at 4 p.m. on June 20, a Monday, when councilmen could adopt the budget and select their favored candidate for the treasurer's position.

On the last night of interviews, Councilman Ronald McRady asked, "Do we want to have an investigation" into the backgrounds of the finalists?

Police Chief Chuck Forbis conducted background checks on the finalists for the position of city manager that resulted in David Orr's tenure starting three months ago. Forbis traveled to three states for the investigation.

Asking about those who've been interviewed for the treasurer's job, Forbis quipped during the sociable meeting, "Any from Hawaii?"

"No," replied Councilman Robin Minor. "But you might be able to go to Florida" because one applicant lives in Tarpon Springs, Fla., Minor said, knowing that Forbis moved to Lewisburg from Florida.

The June 20 date for the public hearing was selected because a legal notice must be published showing what's planned and it must appear in a newspaper of general circulation 10 calendar days before the hearing. That public notice is to appear in this newspaper sometime this week.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the council is 6 p.m. June 14, the normal monthly meeting date.

A few items were finalized when the council met Friday. They include settlement of details regarding bonuses for city employees and approval of a record management system for the Police Department.

As first drafted, the city's next budget included pay raises calculated at three percent, but councilmen decided it would be better to pay a $600 bonus. It's to be paid in one lump sum in early July.

"We're going to give it on the front end" of the fiscal year which starts in 23 days and ends on June 30, 2012, City Treasurer Connie Edde said.

"So," Mayor Barbara Wood quipped, "if anybody quits after that, they've got it."

As for the record management system, councilmen agreed to provide the Police Department with $3,500 from the general fund to pay half the cost of the software, according to discussion during the meeting. The system costs $7,000. Forbis agreed to get the second half of the cost from the department's drug fund, an account where money is kept after the sale of confiscated property. Forbis indicated the expenditure for the records management system (RMS) would probably exhaust the fund. Such accounts are common for cities and counties.

"Most cities our size have had some form of RMS for 30 years," the police chief said.

Currently, a large portion of the city police records are on paper and in file cabinets. Almost all of them are kept chronologically with few, if any cross-references. Furthermore, if an officer were looking for information about a similar case, it would be important to know the date of the previous incident or the report to be able to find it.

RMS software is designed to allow a search of computerized reports. Depending on the program that's purchased, police could conduct a search for reports based on the location of a particular kind of crime, time of day, by the name of the complainant and the officers who responded, among other factors.