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Budget cut back 10 percent for 2014

Maumelle’s City Council approved a budget Monday night with very little discussion for a smaller budget that the year before. Every council member voted for the budget except former mayor Burch Johnson.

Johnson complained that other agencies were getting cut while the fire department gets everything they want including a new fire station, a $1 million dollar tanker and new positions.

Johnson also noted garbage fees have not increased since 2005.

He also argued that when the budget is tight ongoing everyday expenditures shouldn’t be added like three new firefighters added.

Other than his objections there was very little discussion on the $11.459 million budget, a reduction in the current’s years budget.

Some council members noted that this year’s budget meetings were more extensive than ever before some lasting four to five hours.

Typically that is where the discussion, give and take transpires.

Mayor Mike Watson came to the last budget meeting, he said and asked for a 10 percent reduction in their yearly budget.

Johnson went on to say next year’s budget was the “most one-sided budget he’d ever seen.”

Johnson said the fire department got “everything they want “even when they don’t need it.”

He also said everyone else was “slighted.”

Alderman Caleb Norris said during the last four-hour meetings he thought everyone came together.

“It’s not perfect,” he said.

The $11,459,151 budget approved is $1,263,863 less than last years $12,723,014.

The impact on individual departments won’t be great Mayor Mike Watson assured the council Monday night. He defended the increases in fire protection noting the new fire station has been in the plans for years and so has the new ladder truck.

Next week’s Christmas edition of the Monitor will include a more detailed look at each department and what the new budget means to them.

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