At a special session meeting Wednesday, Oct. 17, the board reviewed the tentative 2013 budget, and at this week's meeting, approved it.
Council President Sam Glover led the budget discussion and several ordinances were passed concerning the budget.
Ordinance No.14-2012, the BAN/bond ordinance, Ordinance No.18-2012, the police salary ordinance and Ordinance No.19-2012, the firefighters salary ordinance were all unanimously approved.
Ordinance No.15-2012, the mayor's salary ordinance and Ordinance No.16-2012, the clerk treasurer's salary ordinance, were both approved with modifications.
Ordinance No.15-2012 originally called for Mayor Brian Wyndham's salary to increase by $2,395 for 2013. Wyndham's salary for 2012 was $30,700, and the ordinance called for his 2013 salary to be $33,095.
Council member Brad Deal requested that the board raise Wyndham's salary an even $3,000, and proposed the figure be a blanket number used every year regarding an increase in the mayor's salary.
Deal also proposed the same amount be raised in Clerk Treasurer Karen McQueen's salary under Ordinance No.16-2012 for 2013, raising her salary from $27,500 to $30,500.
The board was told by City Attorney Traci Lawson salaries have to be approved on a year-by-year basis, so they can't make the $3,000 raise a blanket decision for coming years.
The board unanimously approved the ordinances with modifications to raise Wyndham and McQueen's salary by $3,000 each for 2013.
The board also modified the ordinances containing the salaries of various employees and appointees.
Deal felt the head of the departments of Planning and Zoning as well as the HR safety director deserved a higher rate of pay than the deputy clerk treasurer and the mayor's administrative assistant who were currently being paid more.
"I personally believe those department heads should have high salaries that are second to that of the mayor," Deal said.
The council discussed the various responsibilities of these positions, with Wyndham defending his administrative assistant, saying she "does more than what's seen on the surface. She has quite a bit of responsibility and deals with a lot of things when I'm not here."
The council agreed that all four positions deserved raises, but that the department heads should be making more than the deputy clerk treasurer and administrative assistant, simply because of the higher amount of responsibility and accountability that they hold.
Deal said it came down to the amount of responsibility held as the head of a department or as a member who supports a department.
Modifications were then made to the budget to make the department heads' salaries increase at a higher rate than the clerk treasurer and administrative assistant.
Further, the council changed the raises for Board of Works members from the original plan of $4,000 down to $3,000. Currently Board of Works members make $1,000 a year for their work.
Next, the board heard from John Anderson, an attorney based in Indianapolis, and Jenni Chamberlain, executive director of S.O.S. (Serving on the Streets) in Brazil.
Anderson and Chamberlain are working together to turn the former Brazil Junior High School into affordable housing for the city. They are putting together an application for affordable housing tax credits and needed the council to change their redevelopment plan in order to gain more points on their application.
The affordable housing project will work with S.O.S.'s plan to use their previously awarded OCRA grant to create a community center in the gymnasium of Brazil Junior High.
The housing project will consist of 30 two-bedroom apartments that will be provided to those who can't necessarily afford other housing in the city. Rent rates will be based on an individual's income, and their rates will not increase if their income increases. According to Chamberlain, it will be a way out of poverty for people in the city.
The board accepted the resolution to adopt the redevelopment plan.
Finally, the board accepted a $20,000 appropriation in the 2013 budget to use for the unsafe building fund, so the Board of Planning and Zoning can tear down vacant, worn-down homes in the city.