A budget for the City of Berea is set for the next fiscal year.
The Berea City Council passed the 2019-20 budget that featured a few tweaks during its bi-monthly meeting Tuesday night.
The total fund balance starting July 1 is at $13.6 million and funds, with $11 million set aside for the general fund, followed by $6.4 million for public and safety, such as police and fire, $3.2 million for public works, and $1.2 million for the parks department. Employees will receive a 2.5 percent increase based on a performance review.
Among the changes, councilmembers voted to trim $6,000 from the Human Rights Commission line item expenditure from $8,000 to $2,000 during the next fiscal year.
Council member Emily Ladouceur questioned the move and councilman Jim Davis said the commission’s lack of a budget request during the past three years and its inability to spend all of allotted funds was a concern.
In addition, the council, in a narrow 4-3 vote, opted to trim $79,000 from the Berea Tourism advertising allocation that had been previously set at $379,000. Council member Jerry Little proposed the change, which he said would not affect programs within the tourism department. Ladouceur, John Payne and Steve Caudill voted against the line-item change.
“Tourism doesn’t have to cut one item,” Little said. “Every program they’ve got stays the same. It doesn’t change anything. You don’t cut one thing out. You don’t change anything they’re doing. … That still leaves you with under $1,000 per day to spend for advertising, that way, we’ll see what’s working.”
Again, Ladouceur questioned the reasoning behind the move and asked if the city had the “legal ability” to “dictate tourism budget … item line.” Council member Steve Caudill added the city received an opinion last year that it could reduce line items in tourism funding but couldn’t reallocate the funds.
In other business:
• Berea College President Lyle Roelofs gave an update on three priorities for the college, including a tobacco-free campus that will take affect July 1. He also touched on the Berea College Forest and Mountain Day, celebrated since 1878. He also spoke on cooperative trail developments between the college, city and the tourism commission.
• Fraley designated June 17-23 as Pollinator Week.
• Citizen Jackie Bowling addressed the council on the budget and its expenditures, citing concerns with the tourism advertising budget and using the restaurant tax to fund more programs.
• The council approved a parking agreement with Rick Terrill (2006 Big Hill Road) for $1,000 for the Berea Craft Festival set for July 12-14.
• Approved a resolution regarding an agreement for the construction of the design phase of the Scaffold Cane Trail. The council also approved a joint resolution with the Madison County Fiscal Court with a $1,000 contribution to a traffic enhancement grant program at U.S. BR 21.
Next meeting: 6:30 p.m., July 2.