By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The Liberal City Commission took on a short agenda at its most recent meeting Tuesday night.
The first on the agenda was the final reading of both Ordinance No. 4432 (levying tax revenue for budget year 2014) and Resolution No. 2199, both of which concerned the 2015 budget. The proposed 2015 budget is $36,087,000 and would represent a 3.798 mill increase from 2014 and an ad valorem tax dollar increase of $441,534.
Liberal Mayor Joe Denoyer then discussed what measures the city had taken to increase the mill levy as least as possible, including reducing city staff numbers. Chris Ford, director of finance for the City of Liberal, added staff travel had also been cut to the least amount necessary. Ford added the city has continuously put off capital spending only on extreme task-needed bases, which he said has helped the city get by over the past several years.
“We’ve been utilizing our equipment reserve for those purposes to help with the budget,” Ford said. “We also continually have meetings with our department heads to share the status of where the city is financially and brainstorm ideas anyone might have to come up with ways to cut costs and stretch our dollars.”
Ford also talked about how some items in the budget are out of the city’s hands, such as health insurance benefits and said these increases are happening statewide and not just in Liberal.
After some other questions for Ford regarding the budget, the commission approved both parts of the item 4–0, with Commissioner Dave Harrison being absent from the meeting.
The commission then discussed Resolution No. 2200, concerning acceptance of a grant offer from the Federal Aviation Association for Phase No. 2 and construction and rehabilitation of Taxiways A and C. A request was also made to allocate $368,192 from the economic development portion of the 1-cent sales tax program for the city’s 5-percent match for the taxiway project. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the commission.
Earlier in the meeting, members of the board at Liberal Memorial Library took the opportunity to introduce Royce Kitts as the new director. After being introduced, Kitts spoke to the commission.
“I’m very happy to be here in Liberal, I’ve had a lot of fun since I’ve been here Aug. 5,” Kitts said. “I’m really happy to be here, just enjoying myself and taking the chance to get to know people in the community.”
The Rotary Club of Liberal also had a short presentation during which member Mike Brack discussed club project “BIG” Day at Arkalon for Big Brothers Big Sisters. The group was approved a $4,250 grant and plans to use part of it to put in plants and get T-shirts for the event in September.
The last item up for discussion on the night’s agenda was discussion of a right-of-way. Garrett Wright requested permission to install a temporary private sewer line, as putting in a full sewer main is cost-prohibitive at this time. After development happens in the area, there will be the requirement to put in the full sewer main. The commission unanimously approved the request.
After discussion of these items was finished, City Manager Mark Hall gave his report, during which he discussed the progress on the construction of the new ball fields, saying engineering documents should be available later this week and then the site work will be putting out requests for quotes from companies. After all this work is done, Hall said equipment will be moved to the 8th Street complex.
The commissioners then gave their items and then after approval of the vouchers, the meeting was adjourned at 7:09 p.m.