BY SARAH GREGORY
The Greeneville Water Commission on Tuesday voted to budget for a 2.5 percent employee raise during fiscal year 2014.
The vote was 2-to-1, with commissioners Johnny Honeycutt and Brandon Hull voting in favor and Joe Waggoner voting against.
BALANCED BUDGET PRESENTED
Water Department Comptroller Kim Bowers presented a balanced budget for the new fiscal year.
Bowers' budget, however, had been calculated to include a 3 percent employee raise.
A revised budget reflecting the change to a 2.5 percent wage increase for employees will likely be up for consideration at a future meeting.
In presenting the budget proposal, Bowers told the board, "I think we're in really good standing for the coming year."
Waggoner expressed that he was not in support of the budget because of the wage increases, but added that he appreciated the work of Water Department employees.
Water Superintendent Laura White noted that the wage increase would help the department's employees keep up with the rising cost-of-living.
Honeycutt spoke in favor of the raises, saying he was "adamant that we need to do this."
Hull, who serves as chairman of the commission, proposed a 2.5 percent raise.
A motion to budget for the 2.5 percent increase passed.
The original budget proposed by Bowers that calculated for a 3 percent raise projected revenues and expenses for the Water Department at $860,335.
Revenues and expenses for sewer services were projected at $942,385.
The two services combined were projected to be $1,802,720 for fiscal year 2014; however, that number will be revised to account for the change in employee raises.
Commissioners also approved purchase of a new lawn mower for the wastewater treatment plant and purchase of a streaming current monitor.
The lawn mower, to be purchased from Bypass Lawn and Garden, of Greeneville, will cost $8,950.
It will replace an 18-year-old piece of equipment that has a bent frame and is leaking oil, White said.
The purchase was approved unanimously.
Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve purchase of the streaming current monitor.
The equipment measures the charge in the water to regulate the amount of chemicals used, White said.
It would serve as a backup to equipment currently in use.
"We have to have backups to all of our monitoring devices per regulations from the state," White explained.
The equipment, at a cost of $9,925, will be purchased from Tennessee Instrumentation, of Kingsport.