Ordinance would amend this year’s budget to allocate CDBG Disaster Recovery funds
The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed an ordinance on first reading last week that would allocate funds received for a Disaster Recovery Project.
Board members took the action Thursday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Kelly Rector and seconded by Alderman Billy Ray Morris.
The motion was passed by a 2-1 vote, with Alderman John Troncone dissenting and Alderman Karl Chambless abstaining.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing and final reading during a special called meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
It states that, under Tennessee’s Municipal Budget Law of 1982, the board can authorize Town Recorder/Treasurer Tammie Hightower to transfer monies from one appropriation to another within the same fund.
The ordinance notes that current General Fund revenues and expenses will be “more than anticipated,” primarily because of the 2012 Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Project.
The Drug Fund will also have more revenues and expenses than were originally anticipated. But revenues in the Street Aid, Solid Waste and Water and Sewer funds will be less, while expenses will be greater.
During discussion shortly before the vote, Troncone noted that he received his “packet” 48 hours prior to the meeting and had only one day to examine the proposed ordinance.
“I work at a bank and do budgets all the time,” he said, “but I can’t do it in a day. And I think I owe the town a little bit more time than a day.”
But Mayor Chris Goodman noted that, if the first-reading approval was delayed, his administration would have “issues” in preparing the 2015-16 fiscal year budget and getting it passed in “a timely manner” to meet the June 30 deadline.
He said the ordinance is also designed to bring the town’s revenues “in line” for the remaining quarter of the current fiscal year and to make any necessary changes. As an example, he cited the addition of funds in one department to ensure that it has enough allocated to make payroll.
“There was an issue where allocation was done based on 26 pay periods instead of 27,” Goodman noted. “And I want to make sure that they’re all covered.”
In response to a question by Rector, the mayor said passage of the ordinance will ensure that the CDBG funds are allocated for the Disaster Recovery Project.
“I don’t have a start date for the work,” he acknowledged. “But without the funds allocated, we can’t start the work. That’s all based on comments the auditor has made very plain.”
A motion offered by Troncone and seconded by Chambless to postpone the first-reading approval until tomorrow night’s meeting was defeated by a 3-2 vote, with Goodman casting the tie-breaker.
Troncone then said he would like the board to examine the increases and decreases “line-by-line” on the budget spreadsheet. But after reciting several of the line items, the mayor said he considered that “a waste of time.”
“The information’s here,” he noted. “It’s very obvious. I just don’t know that I can agree to going through another eight to 10 pages of this.”
Although Troncone requested that the examination continue, Rector called for a vote on the first reading of the ordinance.
At the board’s Nov. 20, 2014 meeting, Town Engineer Ken King recalled that Oakland experienced “heavy storms” in June and July 2009 and May 2010. He noted that at least seven residences were flooded on Black Ankle Drive in the Northwoods Estates subdivision.
So, Oakland and Fayette County jointly conducted a flood study of Black Ankle Creek.
The study, which was completed in September 2010, presented three recommendations:
(1) Replace the culvert at Highway 194 and Black Ankle Creek.
(2) Reduce the water level in the retention basin.
(3) Enlarge the channel that the retention basin flows into.
King recalled that, two months after the study was published, Community Development Partners in Nashville notified him that $1 million was available through disaster funds. So, after preparing engineering reports and cost estimates, he submitted an application in late 2010.
While noting that the $1 million was awarded in 2012, King said $150,000 was recently added to that. With those funds, culverts will be installed to lower the water in the retention basin, and the channel will be made three times larger.
But because that is called “waters of the state,” Oakland had to obtain a special Aquatic Resources Alteration Permit, which requires the town to plant saplings, trees and “live staking” in the Northwoods Branch.
And for three years after the project is completed, annual monitoring is required for “qualitative habitat assessment,” a Tennessee “hydrologic determination” and vegetation monitoring.
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