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Finances Discussed Heavily At Grayville City Council Meeting

Grayville will move forward with preparing an ordinance to allow Adult Use Cannabis Sales within the city limits.  No comments or objections from any visitors during last night’s public hearing and rather just an explanation provided by City Attorney Jay Walden means the way has been cleared for the city to propose an ordinance in coming meetings to line out details.  Commissioner David Jordan remains the lone holdout opposing the idea.  He has said as much in past meetings, and made his vote known once again during the cannabis tax ordinance, Number 876 for those of you keeping track.  There remains some confusion over the recommended tax amount, but commissioners ended up moving forward with a proposed 3% tax noting that they could amend the ordinance later if need be.  The motion passed 4-1.

Finance Commissioner David Jordan noted following Treasurer Sharon Walden’s report that the city is left with only $58,614 and change in it’s Cash on Hand account saying the municipality needed to really tighten it’s belt over the remainder of the year noting that tax bills are going out late meaning that Grayville won’t be refilling it’s coffers until much later than is customary.  Still yet, Grayville has more than 2 million in assets including nearly 1.2 million in restricted funds and more than $890,000 tied up in Investments.

The city is moving $80,000 from an e-pay/credit/debit account to the general fund.  Walden says $8,000 of it will stay in the general fund while $20,000 will be earmarked for the Water Department, $5,000 for Sewer, $35,000 for the gas department and the remaining $12,000 set aside for public health.

Finances would raise it’s head again at last night’s Grayville meeting following Police Chief Roy Mann’s August report when he recommended the city issue a bump to it’s Part Time Police Officer pay.  Mann says with a department of only 3 officers, having good part time officers available is vital and that the city is better off in the long run to pay part timer’s a dollar more per hour ($16.75 per hour) rather than have to pay him more than $30 an hour for overtime to have to cover any necessary shifts due to vacation and/or sick time.  Commissioner Jordan was quick to point out that he knew the officers deserved it, but said the timing was all wrong and again went back to what he called his fiduciary responsibility saying an increase such as that should be included in the budget (which won’t be done again until around April of 2020).  Jordan also voiced his concern that revenues would be down mentioning the loss of Borowiak’s and the changes to the state’s gas tax.  Commissioner Donovan Baldwin agreed and it was suggested to bring it back when budget talks pick up around February.  The other board members and the mayor disagreed however and voted no on the motion to decline the raises.  Commissioners Chris James and Tyler Howell along with Mayor Travis Thompson preferred instead to table the matter for further cost analysis and to see exactly what the financial impact would be.  That motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Thompson along with Police Chief Roy Mann are expected to be making some house calls this morning.  Many of the folks they attempt to visit won’t be happy to see them however. Chief Mann says there are more than 40 homeowners listed on the property cleanup catalogue.  Thompson and Mann will be delivering about a dozen citations today as Grayville top brass continues to push for the cleanup of properties, both lived in and abandoned.

City Attorney Jay Walden was authorized to draft an ordinance that will allow the owners of Tri State Logistics a special use ordinance for their property in the Grayville Industrial Park.  The owners of the business at 161 Industrial Park Drive say the business is expanding and they need to build a 72 x 80 structure as well as a 1,300 square foot living space for use while they look for a more permanent home in or around Grayville.

Finally, Halloween Trick or Treat hours have been set for the river town.  Grayville will hold it’s Boo Bash and the Lions Club will host an event at the theater on October 26th around 7pm.  Official Trick or Treat Hours in Grayville have been set for 5pm – 8pm on Thursday, October 31st.

Only one visitor had comments at the meeting.  Resident Lynn Thompson was there to express her displeasure at city workers cleaning up debris that she didn’t believe was from storm cleanup at her neighbor’s home.  She called it a waste of the city’s tax dollars saying she believed her neighbor who she noticed had arranged for a private cherry picker to come in and clean up some limbs from a tall tree should have to pay for the cleanup and removal rather than city workers doing so.  Department Supervisor Scott Irvine was at the meeting as well and responded directly to Thompson saying that the homeowner in question had gone above and beyond to help other Grayville residents in their cleanup efforts after the storm and he authorized it saying it was just good policy to help people who are helping others.