Auxvasse OKs firetruck purchase $3,000 over budget

— A miscalculation for the fire department has led to the shuffling of city funds.

Alderman Terry Walker told the rest of the board during Tuesday night’s meeting that Fire Chief Nick Kaufman had made a mistake when calculating the costs associated with the purchase and equipping of the department’s new truck, with an end result of the project coming in $3,000 over budget.

Walker said Kaufman suggested using money from 2013 fundraising efforts that never got transferred to savings be used to help cover that amount, but Walker questioned if that’s how the board wanted to handle the unexpected expense.

“Do we want fundraising money to pay for their budget?” Walker asked.

The other option would be to adjust the budget at the end of the year and take money from the general fund to cover the $3,000. The fire department already is over budget this year because of high utility bills over the winter.

Alderwoman Stephanie Leverett said although she wasn’t pleased with the accounting error, she felt covering the expense out of the general fund was acceptable as long as it wasn’t a regular thing.

“I don’t want fire department — which is made of volunteers — to be disappointed (by using the fundraising money),” Leverett said.

Alderman Mike Bickel countered that members of the fire department “don’t have anything to be disappointed about, because they’ve got a brand new truck.”

Mayor Kevin Phares said “there will be plenty of money in the general fund at the end of the year” and he felt the city should “let it go, but get stricter” about watching expenses.

“They shouldn’t be spending anymore money this year except for necessities,” Phares said. “Let’s take the fundraising money and apply it toward the $3,000 and overlook the rest.”

The board approved a motion using Phares’ suggestion.

Also during Tuesday night’s meeting:

•Assistant Police Chief Charles Anderson reported the department has been working on increasing stop sign enforcement based on complaints from local residents. Phares asked if the department also could pay attention to speeding within city limits.

•City Supervisor Mike Bertschinger said the city will proceed with demolition of a house on Maple, with the low bid of $5,127 coming from Phil Wilson in Mexico.

•After speaking with Allstate, Bertschinger reported it will likely be the end of June before the city is able to put its water improvement project out to bid.

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