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Council head vows no repeat
of budget woes

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
August 16, 2003
The new president of the Meridian city council doesn't want to see a repeat of last year's lengthy budget process.
Barbara Henson, who was selected to head the council earlier this year, said the process of crafting the city's spending plan, which will go into effect Oct. 1, has run a lot smoother this year.
The public will have an opportunity to view the budget and give input during a 5:30 p.m. Tuesday public hearing at the city's courtroom in the downtown police station.
The proposed budget for fiscal year 2004 includes no tax increase and no millage increase, Henson said. It also includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for city employees.
Henson said it will, however, include another water rate increase an issue that sparked debates between councilmen and Mayor John Robert Smith and lengthy delays in last year's adoption of the final spending plan.
Councilmen met with the head of each city department two weeks ago and trimmed their proposed spending plans.
Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge said he was happy with the funding his department would receive under the proposal.
Ward 1 Councilman George Thomas agreed. Thomas said the fact that councilmen received a copy of the proposed budget earlier this year made all the difference.
Henson said she doesn't anticipate any problems passing the budget on time this year.