The City of Brazil is one step closer to having a budget prepared for 2009.
During Tuesday's meeting, the Common Council of the City of Brazil approved the first reading of the 2009 budget.
"We are trying to cut back as much as possible," Brazil Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen said. "We have even enacted a hiring freeze for the time being and, even if we lose an employee for any reason, we may not necessarily hire a replacement."
One of the biggest changes with this year's budget is there will be no raises given to employees.
"It is a little deceptive because some employees will receive experience raises depending on how many years they have worked for the city," McQueen said. "However, there will be no additional raises on top of those figures."
McQueen told The Brazil Times employees of the police and fire departments are under a system where they receive annual experience raises until their 13th year, and other city employees have a similar system, but only up to the seventh year.
"Basically, city firefighters and police officers who have been here longer then 13 years will not receive a raise, and those in other offices and departments with more than seven years' experience will not receive one either," she said.
Other cuts in the proposed budget include putting off purchasing a street sweeper or a new leaf machine.
"We actually had to cancel the order for the street sweeper, which would cost the city about $25,000 a year," Mayor Ann Bradshaw said. "Things are tight all around and we have had to make some difficult decisions."
The budget will be up for final action at the Nov. 11 meeting, but McQueen said residents are welcome to visit her office and see the proposed budget for themselves.
"Council members may come in on an individual basis to review what we have so far, and residents may do so as well," she said. "Residents may even ask questions about why we decided to set items the way we have."
Other items discussed during Tuesday's meeting include:
* Passing the second and final reading of the amended sign ordinance. Major changes made include considering real estate signs as temporary and may be up for no more than 30 days and yard/garage sale signs posted in areas other than the sale's location must be taken down within 24 hours following the end of the sale,
* Hearing an update provided by Brazil City Patrolman/K-9 Officer Kenny Hill, who has been off-duty since being injured during a pursuit on Dec. 20, 2007. Hill said he has a doctor's appointment Oct. 30 and may be cleared to return to full-time duty at that time. He said he has been training with K-9 Officer Anya while he has been off, and if he is not cleared on Oct. 30, he will have another review four weeks later, and
* Approved a zoning request for Jeremy Simmons to convert his residence on Pinckley St., just east of Murphy Ave., from residential to general business.
The next meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers of City Hall.