Adjustments have been made and Neosho City Council will vote next week on the first reading of a bill to approve the city’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year.

Adjustments have been made and Neosho City Council will vote next week on the first reading of a bill to approve the city’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year.

After holding two previous special financial work sessions to hammer out the proposed budget, the council voted 3-0 Tuesday, to accept the budget amendments decided upon during those previous sessions. Councilmen Steve Hart and David Ruth did not attend Tuesday’s final special budget session.

Neosho city manager Troy Royer, explained that the city has built up reserves in the three years he has been on staff, only using reserves during that time to payback funds misappropriated during the previous administration and this will be the final year to pay that off.

“The other parts of the reserves that we used was things that we have to do this year,” he said.

Royer listed replacement of the fire station No. 1 roof, and said adjustments approved Tuesday include enhancing the police department with one officer and adding a patrol car.

“We’ve tried to replace at least one to two vehicles a year to keep our fleet rotated because we’ve got a lot of old, old vehicles that need to be rotated out,” he said.

Those police department items add more than $70,000 to the budget and Royer totaled general administration additions at $68,000. Some of that is for the 2 percent cost of living allowance originally slated for all city employees. Royer noted that he, city clerk Nora Houdyshell and city attorney Steven Hays, are council employees and council decided the trio should also receive the COLA.

The other $65,000 is to prepare for lawsuits that have been filed against the city by councilmen Hart and Ruth, and their attorney.

“We’ve got these lawsuits,” said Royer. “We don’t know what the costs are going to be for those yet, so we went ahead and budgeted because they are happening. They have been filed with the courts, two of them against the city and city officers, so we’ve got to put some money in there to make sure we cover that. We don’t know what that cost will be.”

Recently, losing public works director Mike Hightower, Royer said the city will save money with a transition. He explained that it is a large burden for one person, and with the expertise of Ryan Long in the street department, with Duane Lynch in water/wastewater, they will each become directors of their departments.

He said they used to work as two entirely different departments until Hightower was placed over both several years ago. Royer said both Long and Lynch will see increased salaries for their increased duties, but Hightower’s more than $71,000 salary is no longer in the budget.

The amendment includes taking $6,500 from the hotel/motel tax to fund promotion of the Big Spring Bluegrass & BBQ Festival, which had a very successful debut several weeks ago. Royer said that will make three events the city promotes each year as that hotel/motel tax also helps promote Celebrate Neosho and the upcoming Fall Festival.

That will be added to the parks budget, which has been amended upwards of $34,000 to also include the addition of a large mower that will be used not only in the parks but also on the golf course, saving manpower in both places.

Council must approve all three readings of the bill to enact the budget prior to the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Oct.1. The first reading is planned for Sept. 2.