The Walnut Ridge City Council adopted the 2021 budget for the city at its Dec. 21 meeting with a total projected income of $3,183,661 and total projected expenses of $3,042,117.
Included in the budget was an annual raise of $520 for all full-time employees based on a 40-hour week. The budget committee also included the same increase for the mayor and city treasurer positions.
The council also voted to pick up the additional expense of insurance premium increases for employees at a rate of approximately $480 per employee per year. Because the city is paying the new rate, the employees’ deductibles will remain unchanged.
“Between the two, employees will see an overall increase in their benefits of approximately $1,000,” Mayor Charles Snapp said, noting this is the sixth year in a row that employees have received raises.
Council members heard an update from Snapp about an industry that was scheduled to move into the former Vulcan Building in Walnut Ridge.
11 Point Scentations, owned by Cathy Tedder, will be using the building to manufacture candles. The industry is expected to start with 17 to 20 employees with the potential for immediate growth, according to Snapp.
In addition, her husband, Bobby Tedder, will be moving his company, which makes power units, in the facility, as well.
The city will be doing some sewer upgrades and fire system upgrades as authorized by the budget committee.
Also at the meeting, council members voted to hire Jerrod Slayton to fill the position of city prosecutor for 2021.
He was recommended by Ryan Cooper, who has served in the position for several years.
In other business:
City Attorney Ethan Weeks updated the council that both J.R. and Michelle Rogers have been served in the city’s lawsuit against the two regarding funds owed to the city for their portion of the demolition and cleanup of a building that was torn down on Abbey Road.
An ordinance abandoning a portion of streets and alley ways in the Fontaine’s Addition was approved unanimously after no objections were voiced from the public.
Mayor Snapp announced the appointment of Ashley Burris to the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Board to replace Corbet Clark who is moving to Pocahontas and will no longer be able to represent the city.
The council adopted a resolution authorizing the chair of the city’s Water Commission to execute agreements, documents and contracts with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
Council members approved the appointment of Vickie Mitchell and re-appointment of David Coker to the Planning Commission. Both will serve five-year terms beginning Jan. 1.
An amendment to the Employee Handbook was approved regarding reimbursement for hotel expenses during conventions at the host hotel. The update was a recommendation of the auditor so the city stays in compliance with reimbursement guidelines.
The council approved the appointment of Adam Davis to the Airport Commission for a five-year term beginning Jan. 1 and the re-appointment of Gary Little to the Water Commission.