Based on revenue projections through October, the Vilonia City Council passed a 2010 budget Tuesday night showing that a few dollars will be left over when the bills are paid.

“Nothing much has changed over the last year,” said Mayor James Firestone. “I’m thinking right now we will have a little surplus.”

Prior to the passage, Firestone told council members, he based the 2010 projected income figure of $1,340,030 on “actual revenue” from January to October 2008. He estimated the expenses at about $1,280,530, reflecting a surplus of about $59,500. 

The budget projects city expenses at $855,178 plus a police budget of $425,352 totaling $1,280,530.

The budget includes a 3.5 percent salary increase for employees and shows a general CD balance of $29,596. A separate budget entity, the fire department budget reflects an income of $199,800 with expenses amounting to $177,450.

In conjunction with the budget, Firestone provided information concerning the one-half cent sales and use tax, passed via ballot last year, with one-quarter percent going for expansion and operation of  Vilonia parks and the other one-quarter percent going to the street department FOR street improvements.

Based on figures from this year, Firestone projected the park income for 2010 to be about $65,000 with expenses amounting to $62,900. Concerning the street department budget, including the one-quarter percent tax as well as county and state turnback money, Firestone projected an income of $215,365 with expenses of $191,268.

“We will put $95,000 into the paving of streets and $11,000 in culvert and ditch work,” he said. 

In other business, the council:

• Approved purchasing 10 air packs for the East Cypress Fire Station at $3,800 each. They also gave the go-ahead for Chief Keith Hillman to enter into a three-year payment contract.

• Approved an ordinance establishing a policy for back-water claims concerning the Vilonia Sewer Department and liability should sewer water back up into a residence. It was said that a notice will be sent to customers of the Vilonia Sewer Department advising of the policy and encouraging those who deem it necessary to install a back-water protection device. Alderman Joe Maxwell, a member of the sewer committee, estimated the cost of the device to be about $100.

“That (installation) will be at the homeowners discretion,” Firestone announced, clarifying that it is not a requirement.

Explaining the process, city engineer Fred Fowlkes estimated 95 percent of the residents do not need one, but there are some, he said, who may be subject to backup due to living in low-lying or flooding areas.

Reports:

• Fire department. Hillman said a rescue vehicle has been recently painted. Also he said a thermal imaging camera has been purchased and installed in a truck. Money to buy the camera, he said, resulted from a recent photo package fundraiser where $10,860 was raised.

The fire department, he said, participated in the Faulkner County Boot Drive raising money for needy families. Also, he said, members of the department completed a Fire Wise project, this week, cleaning up debris behind the Senior Citizens Building.

• Police department. Chief Brad McNew said they are still in need of an officer. However, he said he plans to wait until after the first of the new year to hire one. The department, he said, has worked 99 accidents so far this year compared to 118 in 2008. Also, he said, they have worked close to 1,700 incident reports this year compared to 1,520 last year.

• Planning Commission. Fowlkes said the next meeting is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 29. One item on the agenda, he said, is a request for rezoning of property on Highway 64 East belonging to Lloyd Bise.

• Parks and recreation. Director Marcy McCroskey, representing the Vilonia Sports Association, reported on interaction between the VSA and the state Parks and Recreation. Drawings of the fields, she said, have been sent to them, and preparations are being made to hold public meetings concerning moving fence lines at the park.

She touched on the subject of coaches and background checks as well as plans for upcoming coaching clinics. The VSA plans to begin online registration in January for the spring sports, she added.

“We will do most everything online this year,” she said, adding “we feel pretty good about spring so far.”

Also, she reminded the council that the agreement between the city and the VSA expires Dec. 31.

“We like the agreement,” she said, adding that she was ready to sign if there were no changes.

On that point, Firestone said, he would like to change a couple of items. One, he said, the VSA will be responsible for field preparations. The second change, he said, spells out that the VSA will pay for water during League play. The city, he said, will continue to pay for the sewer during the play.

Due to changes, McCroskey said she would not be able to accept the contract until she receives approval from the VSA board.

“If you are making changes, I can’t sign it,” she concluded.