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LaFollette Council faces difficulty in balancing budget

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By Natasha LaFayette

natasha@lafollettepress.com

 

At the end of a lengthy workshop meeting the LaFollette Council received copies of next year’s proposed budget.

City Administrator David Young explained the budget faced a deficit of about $204,000, which the council would need to make some cuts in order to balance.

At the council meeting in June, the councilmen will approve the budget in the first and second reading. Public meetings will be held for the council to discuss department head requests for additional funds and balance the budget.

A meeting set for June 25, will be an extended meeting for the council to approve the budget prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Prior to the council preparing for a gloomy budgeting future, they discussed the old business still lingering from previous meetings.

Among the discussions was the West LaFollette Railroad crossing. The railroad company along with the Tennessee Department of Transportation has named the crossing a safety hazard. To resolve the problems with the crossing the railroad has offered to fix the railroad crossing intersection if the council approves a plan for adjustments in the area.

During discussion on the adjustment of blocking off 17th Street and making it into a cul-de-sac, the council began a debate about response time of fire department workers if the road was closed.

“We don’t have any other choice,” said Councilman Hansford Hatmaker about fixing the crossing despite the inconvenience of locals in the area.

Director of the Street Department Jim Mullins said the railroad department has reviewed all aspects of the project and surrounding area and maintains its judgment of fixing the crossing.

The council wanted to hear directly from a railroad company representative, but railroad personnel considered the trip to be unmerited, according to Mullins.

The railroad has given the city a deadline of June 30 to make a decision on the crossing. If the city does not agree to the changes, then it assumes responsibility if an accident occurs at the crossing, according to Railroad transportation manager Bill Anderson.

In other business the council discussed making one appointment to the utility board and two appointments to the Emergency 911 Board.

Both appointments would be effective by July 1.

The council agreed that the expired term of Sue Troutman on the utility should be approved for another term.