Good Hope approves FY 2019 budget, 3% pay raise for City employees

Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune

Left to right: Susan Eller, Maxie Jones and John Harris (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE – Changes in sewer rates and the FY 2019 budget were the main topics Monday evening at the Good Hope City Council meeting.

Mayor Jerry Bartlett and the council voted unanimously to approve the new budget, which includes a 3 percent raise for City employees. The new budget also includes donations to area organizations and schools from the City’s alcohol revenues. In addition to the normal amounts given to Good Hope Schools ($14,000 to the high school and $4,000 each to the primary, elementary and middle school), a new discretionary fund of $15,000 was established from the same funds, intended to help Good Hope Schools with extra projects and needs.

Bartlett explained, “The fund will be in addition to the yearly money the City gives to the schools.”

The funds will be distributed by the council upon review and approval of applications. Those applying to the council must have all activities and projects pre-approved by the school system. Applications must be submitted by the end of June, giving the council time to review applications before distributing funds at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

The council approved an ordinance making all municipal property tobacco/smoke free. The ordinance was amended and passed unanimously. The ordinance will include all City vehicles, buildings and areas of facilities except designated locations outside. The ban includes smoking tobacco, e-cigarettes, vape and smokeless/chewing tobacco.

The first reading to amend Good Hope sewer rates was read and will be discussed further at the next meeting in October. The new rates will increase, on average, monthly bills by $1. The need for the increase, according to the council, is based on the growth of the sewer system and the cost of routine maintenance on the City’s aging system.

Council member Maxie Jones addressed recent complaints regarding grass clippings being discharged onto roadways and sidewalks. Bartlett said he was aware of the problem and has ordered attachments for the mowers that give operators control of where and in which direction grass clippings are discharged. Crews will also be instructed to make sure all sidewalks are kept swept and free of grass, gravel and other debris.

The council also approved a request by Bartlett to sell a 2013 S630 Bobcat and take sealed bids on a 1996 Honda 4-wheeler. Both vehicles are categorized as surplus.

The council discussed Good Hope High School’s running track. Good Hope is scheduled to host the countywide track meet at the end of April 2019. Areas of the track are in dire need of repairs and the school needs updated equipment in order to host the meet. Equipment needs include a flash timing system and landing systems and mats for pole vault and high jump. The council shared in the track team’s concerns and said it will discuss ways the City can help.

The Good Hope City Council will meet next on Monday, Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m.

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