HAZARD – The Hazard City Commission approved the second reading of the city’s 2012-2013 budget during a special called meeting on Wednesday morning.
The city’s new budget will go into effect on July 1, and calls for $25,466,030 in total funds, with $5.6 million in the general fund. The city’s water fund is set at $3,450,000, while $2.1 million is allocated for the gas fund.
Assistant City Manager Paul Townes noted at the commission’s regular meeting on Monday that the budget greatly resembles last year’s budget, with one exception being $440,000 for the Darfork Sewer Project. Those funds, Townes said, will be used to extend sewer lines to the East Perry Elementary School currently under construction on Ky. 80. That project is expected to begin within the next couple of months.
Another item on the budget is the Abandoned Mine Land multi-water sites fund, which accounts for $3 million of the overall total. Another $4.6 million is set aside for the water system improvements, though City Manager Carlos Combs noted that officials are hopeful those funds will be approved as part of a grant request.
Others funds and allocations include $184,000 for fire equipment, $580,000 in the pension fund, $480,000 in the Pavilion fund and $1.3 million for the sewer fund.
The budget does not include allowances for employee raises, according to Combs, who noted on Tuesday that the current state of the economy hasn’t improved, and the near future is uncertain.
The city’s revenue hasn’t declined, Combs said, but there hasn’t been an increase either, and with the economy continuing to falter and the area’s coal business on the decline, he’s worried that people could be quickly reaching a point where they have to make a choice between paying their bills or buying food and medicine.
He added that federal pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency has added to the coal industry’s decline locally.
“Hopefully we can hang on here and keep our head above water,” he said. “The employees certainly deserve a raise.”
During their regular meeting on Monday, the commission approved the promotion of four city police officers. Police Chief Minor Allen informed the commissioners that several supervisor positions had recently opened due to the departure of former officers, and he recommended that officers Paul Campbell and Randy Napier be promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and officers David Wiseman and Adam Baker be promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Their promotions will take effect on July 1.
The commission also approved the first reading of a resolution authorizing a grant application with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. Deputy Fire Chief Derek Hall noted that the application will make the city eligible for a grant to upgrade communications equipment for the fire and police departments.
Fire Chief Sam Stacy presented his monthly report to the commission, noting that the fire department responded to a total of 46 calls during the month of May, 33 of which were reports of fires. The department also completed hydrant testing in May, and used a total of 65,000 gallons of water.
Chief Minor Allen’s monthly report included a breakdown of the police department’s case activity. Officers worked a total of 33 cases in May, the vast majority of them in the north end of town. Nineteen of the cases involved felony crimes.