Houston Board of Alderman set budget

HOUSTON – The Houston Board of Alderman passed the 2010 budget with no increases in millage for taxpayers. At the Sept. 1 meeting, the board tabled discussion on the budget for further study in an open work session on Sept. 3. During the work session, Mayor Stacey Parker and the board trimmed expenditures in several areas to allow for additional funding for street repairs.

The board heard from Rotary club member, Scott Shempert, who requested a donation to help sponsor the annual Christmas parade. The request was tabled on motion by Barry Springer and seconded by Frank Thomas with all aldermen voting “aye.”

The board heard a request from the Houston High School basketball boosters who requested a donation for the girl’s high school team. The request had previously been tabled and was denied on motion by Springer and second by Thomas with Springer, Thomas and Tony Uhiren voting “nay” and Willie Mae McKinney and Shenia K. Jones voting “aye.”

Springer defended his motion saying that he did not believe the city funds should be used to support non-city entities.

“I don’t think it’s a city item,” Springer said. “We’re holding the purse strings and holding the citizen’s money.”

The board heard a recommendation from City Marshall Billy Voyles to move Lashawnda Pulliam from part-time to full-time as a police dispatcher.

“She’s already certified and trained,” Voyles said. Jones moved for the employment change with McKinney seconding. The motion failed 3-2 with Springer, Uhiren and Thomas voting “nay.” McKinney questioned the vote and Springer told her he could not justify the additional expense in the budget.

“I’m not adding $6,000-$7,000 more to that budget,” Springer said.

Sharon Atkinson questioned the board about the condition of the Houston Civic Center. Atkinson has reserved the center for an upcoming family function and reported that several of the kitchen appliances were not in good working order. Mayor Parker recommended that the kitchen portion of the facility not be included in the building rental until such time that it can be assessed for repair. Springer moved to hold a work session at the facility and assess the equipment in order to price repairs and replacements of equipment.

In other actions, the board

- Tabled a hearing on a private property as the owner was not present.

- Tabled discussion on the water/sewer policy to a work session.

Lisa Voyles/Chickasaw Journal