RAVENSWOOD - With budget cuts looming in multiple departments for the City of Ravenswood, hikes in municipal fees could be implemented later in the calendar year 2014.
The Ravenswood City Council met in City Council chambers on Tuesday as each city department submitted proposed budgets.

While the concept of a hike in fees is being reviewed and discussed by council, a collective effort to “trim the fat” is being executed to attempt to avoid the hikes.

One area that is being examined is the city pool. Last year, according to Council member Jared Bloxton, the pool operated at total loss of over $50,000 thousand dollars. With major concrete work needed coupled with various other maintenance issues with the facility, council once again finds itself questioning the validity, need and budget friendliness of the ever-aging, cash consuming water hole. As of now, the pool is still scheduled to open the last week of May.

Lawrence “Corky” McCorkle brought a report to council concerning the traffic light issue in Ravenswood. Last month, a commercial truck took out a pole and damaged signals at the Walnut and Washington Street intersection.

While Fox Engineering submitted a bid to replace the lights in the city, there are many concerns in regards to converting from the older style “bulb” lights to more energy efficient and rugged LED displays. Council is reviewing a proposal to reduce the amount of traffic lights in the city to provide a more cost effective alternative while taking traffic flow and safety into account.

While the city looks down the barrel of a proposed $42,600 shortfall for the 2014-15 budget, the Police Department budget was held under a particularly strong microscopic lens.

Police Chief Lance Morrison was brought to the carpet in regards to a $2,400 increase in the phone budget for the department by council member Ken Vintorini who commented, “That is a lot of phone use.”
City Recorder Kathy Garrett added that the department has had issues with equipment not being returned but was quickly and effectively assured that the department is knowledgeable of where every piece of their equipment is located/assigned to.

Morrison even had to defend his departmental laundry budget, which provides a cleaning service for uniforms.
After waxing with council about his proposed budget, Morrison addressed the bathroom facilities in the police station.

“This situation has become deplorable,” he said. Morrison’s comment was directed at the sewer gas wafting throughout the facility that often bleeds over into the Fire Station.

The Chief has also had to budget for lawsuits against the department. Morrison noted that his department will be over budget on unavoidable overtime but will come in under budget on non-overtime related payroll.
Council members agreed to take some time and review the proposed budget of each department.