SYLACAUGA, Ala. – At the Sylacauga City Council work session Monday evening, the third item on the agenda, the 2016-2017 budget, dominated the first 45 minutes of the session.

After significant back and forth between Joe Hogan, Shannon Darby, Tom Roberts, and Billy Carden, the council members came to a proposed final number.

“After covering part of the family cost on insurance…we will hand off a budget, if it’s approved of $12,787,” said Hogan. “We started out with approving a $400 surplus. We are going to finish this year roughly $200,080 plus, on our revenues. Even though we approved a $400 surplus, we didn’t go in the hole and we increased our bottom line by $200,080. That’s good management.”

City council president Rocky Lucas was the only council member not present at the session. Hogan, who spoke on behalf of Lucas at the very beginning of the session, commented that Lucas was “okay as it is” regarding the proposed budget.

“We changed it from what he thought he was expecting to vote on,” said Hogan. “We gave $30,000 back to the family insurance part of it. I don’t know where he stands on that. That was not anything he and I had discussed. He might vote ‘no’ on it based on that. He also didn’t know we had the surplus that we started with tonight too. He thought it was less. So, I can’t speak for him. I can only speak for myself and the guys at the table today. I am happy with it.”

Hogan, who spoke on behalf of the council, claimed the current council is leaving the incoming council in good hands.

“The next council is going to benefit from a lot of the legwork we’ve done. They’re going to have a lot of results from the seeds that we’ve planted particularly in sales tax. We’ve got two development deals that will be coming in: one next year and the year after that will give them a whole lot more money to play with…different things that need to be done that people complain about all the time,” said Hogan.

Hogan said even though many things like paving roads, installing traffic lights, and concreting certain areas of town are important, it takes time to accomplish those types of goals.

“It takes a council to do that but you can’t get any council to do that immediately,” said Hogan. “If we spend two or three years working on it and finally comes through and you’re for it but you’re voted out of office because impatient people want to see results now, you know, sometimes the next council benefits from you. That happens to be what will happen next time. And that’s okay, because I know when I leave here and look back on my four years, I will know, in spite of not being elected as mayor, that we’ve been able to take care of our employees and put some things in place that will bring in more revenue so that they will be more successful than we were.”

The council discussed absorbing rising insurance costs on city employees.

“The four percent this year has been passed on and part of the increase from last year. So, where we’re at now, it causes the family rate to go up by roughly nine percent. Part of that is a compromise on my part to make sure that we have the other things taken care of, which were the longevity raises, the step raises, all of which puts people in the right step in the pay classification… We can’t go back for the people who have been hurt from it but we can get it right going forward,” said Hogan.

Hogan said it is ultimately important to try and make employees happy and desired by the City.

The council also discussed granting approval to the Marble City TapRoom for an October 29 festival and grants for new police radar units.

Michael Brannon for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2016, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Michael Brannon is a former news and sports anchor from Mobile, Ala. and serves as Director of Business Development, Manager of Digital Projects and Strategy, and Managing Editor of SylacaugaNews.com.