Pioneer Village budget gets better each new fiscal year

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By Thomas Barr

 PIONEER VILLAGE – The financial stability for the city of Pioneer Village continues to improve.

     For years, the city battled the debt resulting from the 1996 tornado. Now, however, that debt is almost paid off and the city was able to carry money forward as the new fiscal year begins.

     The Pioneer Village City Council unanimously approved its 2013-14 budget.

     Under the budget plan presented by mayor Gary Hatcher, the city’s general fund carried over $52,702 and the municipal road aid fund had $42,000 to bring forward.

     The city will have $574,402 available in the general fund to spend in the next 12 months. The road fund will have another $61,500.

     The only comment came from councilman Tony Thompson.

     While supportive of the budget, Thompson said that any additional money generated through increased insurance tax dollars with the revised city boundaries should go to the police department.

     Under a mandate from the secretary of state’s office, Pioneer Village, like many others, was required to redo surveys for land annexed over the years.

     With the new survey, the city should recover more insurance tax premium funds.

     Thompson said he would like to see the Pioneer Village police receive better wages so that they are more comparable to other departments.

     In the new budget, the police department will receive the biggest amount at $365,273.

     In other business:

     *A cleanup lien will be filed after work is done to cut grass and remove junk at vacant property on Somerset Drive. The cost of the work will be $495.

     City attorney Mark Edison said that under new state laws, the cleanup lien goes right behind delinquent property taxes in terms of being paid at the time the home is sold.

     *The council agreed to replace the sign entering Spring Meadows subdivision.

     Hatcher said the wooden sign had finally fallen apart. The replacement will be a similar background and lettering as the new Meadowbrook sign.

     *Police chief D.J. Reynolds said that car break-ins were on the rise.

     A big problem is that people won’t lock their vehicles. Most of the break-ins are in vehicles which are not locked.

     Unfortunately, one of the recent break-ins included a gun stolen from the vehicle.

     Several of the individuals are juveniles and Reynolds said the police have a pretty good idea about some of the alleged suspects.

       Reynolds urged residents to lock their vehicles and to make sure there is nothing valuable left inside them.

       The next meeting of the Pioneer Village City Council will be on Tuesday, July 23, at 7 p.m. at Becknell Hall.

       Prior to that meeting there will be a public hearing on a rezoning request by Countryside Enterprises. The request is to rezone property off John Harper Highway to allow for apartment buildings. A number of residents from Hebron Woods came to protest the rezoning.

       However, the public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on July 23. The public is invited to make comments at that time.