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China Grove to fix streets, hold budget workshop
CHINA GROVE -- The city council here has decided to draft a competitive bid package for repairs to three residential streets.
City Engineer Jim Clements at the April 3 China Grove City Council meeting presented a report related to the inventory and condition of all municipally maintained streets. Clements said the city is responsible for 9 centerline miles of roadway, and he drove both sides of each thoroughfare in order to evaluate their repair needs.
Based on Clements’ findings, the three worst streets in need of total reclamation are:
•Tierra Bonita, between Tierra Mesa and Tierra Chita
•Triple Meadow, between Triple Meadow and Triple Tree.
Clements said the repairs are needed to bring the streets up to a level where they can be properly maintained, which would include performing a maintenance seal after five to six years.
But since a portion of Triple Meadow spanning from Triple Wood to Triple Bend also is on the list for streets in need of reclamation, Alderman John McRae suggested it might be more financially feasible to repair the entire street at once, along with Triple Bend, to which it is connected. Alternate bids will be sought for reparing the cul de sacs of Triple Wood and Triple Leaf, both of which are off Triple Meadow.
The vote to proceed with this plan was 3-2. McRae and Alderman Mike Trainor voted in favor. Aldermen Margie Holisky -- who suggested first having a public hearing so that citizens might view and discuss the engineer’s complete streets list -- and Cathy Ripps voted in opposition, creating a 2-2 tie. Since Mayor Eugene Ripps was not present due to illness, Mayor Pro Tem Doug Pruski was forced to break the tie.
“We’ve always said we’re going to start somewhere,” Pruski said, before voting to move forward with the proposal.
Also during the meeting, the council voted to set a workshop concerning the 2014-15 fiscal-year budget for Thursday, April 17, at 6 p.m. Instead of proposing a budget for the coming fiscal year -- which typically would start May 1 -- the council could extend the current year’s budget through a series of amendments, as suggested by City Attorney Stephen Peña Sr., who proposed changing the fiscal-year end date to Sept. 30, like other municipalities.
“Typically, when you adopt the budget, you adopt the tax rate,” he said. “But you don’t even get the tax roll until July 25.”
Peña said the current arrangement is “an administrative burden on a city without a lot of staff.” He said that if the current budget were allowed to end April 30, China Grove would be unable to spend any money.
Also related to finances, Phil Mullen of Universal City-based accounting firm Armstrong Vaughan & Associates presented the city’s fiscal year 2012-13 financial audit. He said that China Grove ended the year with a total fund balance of $670,000 -- which included $416,000 in restricted funds and $652,000 in unrestricted funds.
Mullen said the unrestricted portion of the reserves was enough to cover approximately 23 months of operating costs. The current year’s budget calls for removing $200,000 from fund balance to pay for streets repairs. However, he does not recommend withdrawing more than six months’ worth of reserves, or approximately $170,000.
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