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City Council Approves Near 2.5 Million Dollar Budget

BY MELANIE BUCK –

The 2016 budget for the City of Mena was approved at the Mena City Council meeting that was held on Tuesday, December 8. Monthly reports from city offices were heard as well as passing two new resolutions and an ordinance.

Mena’s City Council approved a budget for their general fund of $2,499,573 in estimated revenues and $2,481,589 in estimated expenditures. Estimated revenues in the general fund include more than $1.3 million from the City Sales Tax, $340,000 from County Sales Tax, $305,000 in Franchise Tax, $95,000 in State Turnback money, and $95,000 in Property Tax.

The Street Fund includes an estimated $1.7 million in revenue, including $400,000 for overlay and $100,000 for sidewalk projects. Materials for overlay and the sidewalk projects are estimated to cost $615,000 in 2016.

Kevin Wolfenbarger was announced as the new Code Enforcement Officer for the City. Mena Mayor George McKee said Wolfenbarger has a master electrician degree and has grown up around construction his entire life. “He’s going to be a real asset to the City. He’s really digging into things. I’m impressed with his good people skills,” said McKee.

Fire Chief John Puckett said his department responded to 15 calls in the month of November, which included one fire, two motor vehicle accidents, one car fire, six airport standbys, and four service calls. Puckett also said they had one person retire from the Fire Department, Mr. JC McMillan. Chief of Police Brandon Martin said his officers worked 25 accidents in November and made ten arrests.

Councilmember Terri Neugent, who also serves the A&P Commission, gave the A&P report. For several months the A&P Commission has been working to resolve various issues with collecting the required A&P tax from businesses that serve prepared food and/or provide lodging. Several businesses have been in arrears for months and according to Neugent, there have been several new establishments open in recent months who may not be aware that they are required to pay the tax. City Attorney Patrick McDaniel has been working on a letter to send to both those in arrears and those that haven’t paid at all. Advertising has also begun in local news outlets to insure that those due to pay, will have knowledge of the tax.

City Council approved Resolution 1322 that designates percentages for funding District Court operations for the City of Mena, Polk County, and the Town of Grannis for the 2016 fiscal year. The percentages were distributed as follows: Mena 27%, Grannis 17%, and Polk County 56%. With the judges’ salaries added in, (an amount that comes from a different source), the percentages were distributed as: Mena 35%, Grannis 6%, and Polk County 59%.

Resolution 1323 was also approved that will allow City Clerk/Treasurer Linda Rexroad to destroy outdated records and supporting documents that are no longer needed.

A salary adjustment for full-time City Employees was approved by the Council and Andy Anderson was appointed to serve on the Mena Airport Commission until February 26, 2018.

The next Mena City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 6 p.m. in Mena City Hall.

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