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Council gives final approval to $41.9 million budget

Because of a scheduling conflict with next week’s regular meeting, the Cairo City Council met Tuesday evening instead, and adopted the $41.9 million budget for 2017-2018.
Mayor Pro Tem Ernest Cloud Jr., presided over the swift meeting, which also included the approval of two requests to close streets temporarily for special events, a brief report from the city manager and an executive session to discuss real estate.
On a unanimous vote by Councilmen Cloud, Jerry Cox, James H. (Jimmy) Douglas and Lannis Thornton, the budget was adopted. Mayor Bobby Burns and Councilman Bobby Gwaltney were not in attendance. The budget of $41,961,185 is for the period of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Tuesday’s vote came after a public hearing on the spending plan was held on May 22. No one attended that hearing to comment on the proposed budget.
In his report to the council, Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said he had distributed to each councilman a copy of a proposed solid waste contract for their review. Addleton said he is meeting with Chris Taylor of Taylor Waste Services to further discuss the plan to privatize garbage service within the Cairo city limits.
Addleton also reported that all of the trash receptacles in the city’s cemeteries had been replaced, and “look a lot better” than what was used previously.
In response to a discussion about contacting police, Addleton pointed out that calling 911 is now the acceptable way to get in touch with local law enforcement, for both emergencies and non-emergencies. “911 is not just for emergencies anymore. If you want to contact police, call 911, and they will be dispatched,” he said.
Addleton’s comments built upon a concern raised by Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas that lawn care businesses are parking their vehicles improperly. “They’re parking their vehicles in the street. . .they’re just blocking traffic for half a day while cleaning somebody’s yard,” Douglas contended. He said several people had complained of the nuisance to him, but said they didn’t want to call police to report the offending companies. Cox concurred, and said it was an issue he had raised before.
Douglas also encouraged Addleton to ask Cairo Police to ride through the parking lot of the U.S. Post Office whenever they leave the nearby police department and ticket those parked illegally. “It’s my understanding that if you back up and hit someone parked there illegally, it’s your fault,” Douglas said. “There’s plenty of parking. I’m not sure why they park there.”
Councilman Cloud asked the city manager to check the water pressure on Third Avenue SW, saying a constituent had complained of little to no pressure if two faucets are on at the same time.
The council did approve a special event request from Sammi and Pam Cooper, who asked permission to close 16th Street SW and Holder Avenue SW on July 1 from 5 p.m. until midnight for an annual Fourth of July gathering of the Cooper/McCullough families. The applicants cited safety issues for the children who will be in attendance.
The council also approved the closure of Sixth Avenue NW during Cairo First Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School, June 25-29, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. each date.
On a motion by Thornton and second by Cox, the council voted to hold a closed session to discuss real estate. After meeting behind closed doors, the council voted to adjourn with no action taken as a result of the executive session.

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