ELWOOD — The Elwood City Council spent Monday night’s meeting shoring up money for shortfalls in city funds in several areas, including new allowances for holiday decorations and gas money for police.
The transferring of funds is a typical measure cities use, especially near the end of the year to shore up shortfalls with available funds in different areas. But there was still some contention over the transfers made. One transfer that drew some discussion from council members was a move of $18,500 from municipal gas services, water, building repairs and contractual repairs to an equipment fund.
A portion of the amount will go toward holiday decorations for the Municipal Building complex. Mayor Ron Arnold said this won’t represent the entirety of the $18,500, some of which will also be devoted to a boiler system, fountains, tools and other city equipment that needs to be replaced or upgraded. He said the decorations themselves come from local vendors, and the decorating itself will be done by a private contractor from Marion.
During the meeting, City Councilman Brent Boston expressed concern about the amount to be transferred, saying it was “a lot of money for Christmas decorations.” Boston still voted in favor of the transfer resolution, which passed by a 5-2 margin.
“It was one of those things that we’ll eventually know what it was all used for. I’m fine as long as we’re fiscally OK. I just didn’t think it was exactly the right forum to make a big fuss about a transfer of funds,” Boston said.
Councilmen Todd Jones and R. Eric Reese voted against the resolution, which also allowed for $6,000 in police funds to be transferred from contractual repairs to gasoline funds. Chief of Police Sam Hanna said during the meeting that the gas money is put to good use and never abused by officers. He said having the extra funds is especially handy when off-duty officers need to assist with their take-home cruisers.
Jones said he doesn’t necessarily think officers are abusing the fund, but that the expenditures need to be managed wisely.
Other transfers included moving $14,000 into equipment in the motor vehicle highway fund, $7,000 into equipment in the sanitation funds and $5,000 into electricity in the common council fund.
Also approved was a resolution granting a 10-year tax abatement for Red Gold, a tomato company based out of Elwood. Red Gold Chief Financial Officer Bob Savage addressed the council and said he’s hoping the reduction in taxes the company will have to pay over that time will allow the corporation to take on more aggressive projects and be more competitive with other tomato companies across the country.
While Savage said the abatement will help keep jobs in Elwood and strengthen the company’s relationship with the community, he said he couldn’t necessarily guarantee that more jobs would be created as part of the abatement. The resolution was adopted unanimously.
A third resolution, also adopted unanimously, was a clarifying resolution for the State Board of Accounts that dealt with increment pay and holiday pay for police and firefighters.
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