The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen failed to pass resolutions during the Nov. 5 board meeting concerning. One mandated the city maintain a minimum fund balance, and the other resolution would have increased the service fee for refuse collection.
The resolution calling for a minimum fund balance of 25% of the total city budget to be maintained in the year-end balance of the General Funds, sponsored by Alderman Marilyn Howard, failed to garner the required four votes to pass. Alderman Chris Elam was absent and Bellamy, Howard and Nickels voted yes.
Alderman Mark Messick questioned what would happen if the city didn’t have 25% left over during budgeting. While Alderman Ryan French saw the measure as a needless complication to the budget process.
“The reason we voted no is simply because we already operate by the 25% guide, and I 100% support the guideline. We have operated on this guideline since Mayor Norman was elected in 2012, and it’s a threshold I quote every single year we are discussing the budget,” he told the Times.
Howard noted during the meeting that, “In the last four years, we’ve been reserving more than 25%.”
Another resolution calling for an increase in the service fee for refuse collection, sponsored by Vice Mayor Bill Nickels, was tabled pending details from garbage collection bids.
The suggested increased from $5 per household to $8 would be earmarked to cover the purchase street department equipment, specifically a knuckle boom truck.
Discussing the increase at an earlier work session Nickels said that the additional fee would match the cost of the new truck and would be appropriate that the source of the funds would cover the tools needed for the service.
Mayor Lonnie Norman voiced opposition to the addition.
“I don’t think we should do it. I don’t think we should keep going up on the citizens. It’s just wrong,” he said at the meeting. In the earlier work session he had voiced the same opinion, and noted that not every citizen uses the service.
“I don’t think that we need to go up on fees every time we need something,” he said.
Nickels countered that the increase could prevent tax increases in the future.
“I think by doing this, we’re making sure that we don’t get into discussions about capital equipment for the street department down the road because it’s strictly earmarked for the people who use it,” he said.
The current $5 fee is applied to the water bill each month to each customer who pays a garbage collection fee for recycling yard waste.
Other resolutions addressed during the meeting were approving a Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan and a Manchester/Tullahoma Community Mobility plan, along with the approval for a no cost to the city contract for a new inclusive playground at Deadman park. The board approved the second reading of disposition of city property ordnance abandoning interest in a right-of-way at River Chase Subdivision. The board approved the first reading of a street access control ordnance.