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Hartselle to use $1.6 million on capital projects

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The proposed capital plan city leaders have agreed to approve will take the Hartselle's reserves below what it was when the current administration took office in October 2004.

With little opposition during Monday's work session, Mayor Dwight Tankersley announced the plan to use $1.6 million from Hartselle's reserves to fund what he called "much needed" capital projects.

His plan will lower the city's reserve account to $3.876 million, which is a five-month reserve.

The reserve was about $4.75 million when the current council took office and has been as high as $6 million last year.

The council will vote Tuesday night to ratify the decision it agreed to Monday night.

Council President Kenny Thompson said he wasn't worried about the reserve dropping below where it was in 2004.

"We're not a savings institution," he said, referring to the council. "We're a service institution."

Tankersley said he didn't have any problem recommending taking $1.6 million out of reserves because "I'm sure that some things will happen at the interstate that will put some money back in our coffers."

Councilman Mark Mizell said he preferred a nine-month reserve and wanted to know if there is any possibility of Hartselle finishing under the $9.3 million budget the council passed.

"I think we will come in on budget or close to it," the mayor answered. "But, I think the income will be over budget."

"I don't feel comfortable pul-ling from the reserve, but I know at some point you got to reinvest," Mizell responded.

Mizell said he thought about spending $1 million on capital projects.

"I don't feel comfortable going to $1.6 million," he said.

Councilman Bill Smelser disagreed with Mizell.

"If we take the $1.6 million, we can do a considerable number of capital projects," Smelser said. "I want to listen to the mayor's capital list."

Tankersley provided a list of items he said would cost about $1.473 million.

The mayor listed sewer under the interstate to city-owned property near Alabama 36 and I-65 as his top priority. This project, he said, would cost about $558,000.

Next on his list was Foote Road widening and resurfacing that would cost about $215,000. He talked about buying three police vehicles with an estimated cost of $60,000 and a new pumper truck and defibrillators for the Fire Department for about $330,800. For public works and park and recreation, Tankersley wants to purchase items costing about $94,000.

"Even if we approve this list, we probably won't pay for some of these items until the next budget year," the mayor said.

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