DECATUR -- The first Decatur City Council meeting of 2022 was somewhat abbreviated due to the recent outbreak of the omicron variant of covid-19.
Only 10 people were allowed in the meeting room at Decatur City Hall on Jan. 10 -- some of the council members elected to attend via Zoom.
After approving the minutes and the amended 2021 Decatur budget, the council adopted a new budget for the city for the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.
Work on this budget began on Jan. 5, with the session lasting a total of eight hours. City officials working on this project included Mayor Bob Tharp, City Clerk Kim Wilkins, Director of Public Works James Boston and several members of the council.
During the Jan. 10 meeting, Tharp went through some details of the budget, including some line items for the five departments under the general fund, as well as the street department and the wastewater and water department funds.
The budget is split into two categories, expenditures and income.
On the expenditure side, the city budgeted expenses of $1,245,200 for the five departments: administration, police, fire, parks and library. The administration budget is set at $353,300, police at $640,400, fire at $165,040, parks at $52,550 and the library at $33,910. Income for the general fund is projected at $1,245,200, thus making for a balanced 2022 budget for the city.
Tharp outlined a set of percentage numbers for the city council to remember as the city progresses through this year and into 2023.
"If you look at the general fund, which includes administration, police, fire, parks and library, they come in at $1,245,200," Tharp explained. "The administration is about 28 percent of that budget, police is 51 percent, fire is 13 percent, parks 4 percent, and the library at 2.7 percent. As we look forward to providing
an opportunity for our constituents to help us with our income in the future, maybe next year those are good numbers to keep in mind. So write down someplace on your calendars those numbers to remember."
The street department budget and income for 2022 are set at $276,933, while the water and wastewater budget is set at $5,777,850.
"The city of Decatur now has a good budget to work with in 2022," Tharp concluded.
NOTE: In addition to the council's approval of Joey Gunter as the new Decatur Fire Chief during the Dec. 20, 2021, meeting, the council also approved James Jessen as the new assistant fire chief, effective Jan. 1, 2022.
Jessen is a long-time resident of Decatur and serves on the Decatur City Council. He is also a deputy with the Benton County Sheriff's Office and has served as a volunteer on the Decatur Fire Department since January 2019.