Transition begins in city hall

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008

Outgoing Mayor Jerry Andrews and recently-elected Mayor Earl Johnson Thursday afternoon met to begin the process of transitioning into a new administration.

“We had a good meeting,” Johnson said. “We had a thorough discussion of 30 or 40 projects and issues that are ongoing.”

The new administration won’t take office until the first Monday of November, but there’s work to be done in the interim. For instance, the city’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and the council normally adopts a new budget before October.

“They’re going to do a continuing resolution (for the current budget),” Johnson said. “I learned from the clerk that revenue is flat, which is not surprising.”

Meanwhile, he said, he was told the new budget will have increased fuel costs, increases in health insurance costs, and a small cost of living adjustment for employees.

“Nearly all aspects of expenses are up,” Johnson said. “When that is the case and revenue remains flat, that spells trouble.”

Johnson said he will work with city department heads to have a proposed budget to present fairly quickly after the new council takes office. Also to be addressed are transportation grant applications due Oct. 1.

“I will be working with the clerk and the engineering firms on their proposals,” Johnson said. “My feeling is to move forward. There was previously a T-grant application for River Falls Street that was denied. I want to know what if anything we can do to make it acceptable for the Department of Transportation.”

Another proposed T-grant application is for a walking trail running down the old railroad right-of-way near Tisdale Street.

Johnson said he also was informed of two legal issues facing the city, and of proposed projects.

“There are some proposals for developments in or around Andalusia,” he said. “I will meet with those folks when they come to town.”

All of the work he does between now and November will be on an informal basis, he said.