City of Searcy’s 2022 budget is $1.666 million more than the 2021 starting budget | Messages


The City of Searcy’s operating budget for this year is $1,666,573.60 more than the 2021 launch budget.

The Searcy City Council passed the $17,957,714.61 budget with an emergency clause at a special meeting Friday afternoon at which City Clerk and Treasurer Jerry Morris was named president per temporary of the meeting in Mayor Kyle Osborne’s absence because he was in was in quarantine. The budget had to be approved by February 1st.

After the vote, Council Member Tonia Hale said she would like to hold a meeting this month, “whether it’s after an agenda meeting or after our council meeting or whenever to sit down with department heads to set their budgets, we’re better informed, what their needs are, what their wants were.”

Hale said she thinks “to be able to look at the budget with them and go through it with them, with every department head, I think that would be beneficial not just for us but for every department in the city.”

The other council members agreed. Raney said once Osborne is up and running, he and Morris could look at some dates for the community of the entire meetings.

“We’re definitely going to do that,” Morris said. “Hopefully this COVID thing got out of town hall. … Hopefully {COVID]will have left City Hall alone by the time February meets. I hope it leaves everyone alone. I think everyone is fed up.”

Councilor David Morris said meeting with department heads can be a kind of casual, informal discussion about the needs of their department and what they are dealing with. He mentioned talking about equipment that might wear out, looking for replacements and “things of that nature.”

A significant number of Searcy firefighters, as well as Fire Chief Brian Dunavan, attended the meeting. Some other department heads present were City Engineer Mark Lane and Parks and Parks and Recreation Director Mike Parsons.

“It’s been a very challenging budget process this year,” Jerry Morris said, “as we had to wait until after the November election to know where we were on our 1 percent tax, which kind of got us behind the eight bullets got started and all the COVID issues and other things that have come up have made it a difficult process.”

According to Michelle Pugh, media relations support for the city, the largest increase in the budget comes from a 5 percent increase in the cost of living for all city employees.

“Caring for our employees is my top priority,” Osborne said in a Pugh press release. “The cost of living continues to rise across the country, so we are very grateful to the City Council for recognizing this need and providing this increase.”

Dunavan said with the 5 percent increase, firefighters’ starting wages will be $11.55 an hour instead of $11 an hour.

“That’s something they should revisit later right now, the way they’re talking, so it’ll help,” Dunavan said. “It still leaves us behind other departments, but it’s a step in the right direction and with them [the council members] Promise to check it out after permanent tax starts. Since they have now been allotted everything with the provisional [1-cent tax] until it is finished [at the end of June]. It’s quite difficult for them to go through there and give raises.”

Total revenue for the year is estimated at $17,957,714.61 according to the 2022 budget.

The total general fund budget of $17,944,687.52 includes:

Library, $216,817.34, compared to $206,825.04 in 2021; Cemetery, $15,950 compared to $9,450 in 2021; District Court, $650,743.35, compared to $614,394.57 in 2021; Police, $4,316,287.18, compared to $3,801,713.85 in 2021; Drug Task Force, $141,289.00 compared to $135,108.44 in 2021; Fire $3,335,590.44, compared to $3,143,307.69 in 2021; Parks and Recreation, $713,324.76, compared to $682,936.14 in 2021; Sanitation, $3,748,137.94 compared to $3,586,948.34.


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