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|Aldermen entertain $25 milllion budget|
The West Monroe Board of Aldermen took the first step Tuesday in adopting its budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which entails a spending plan of some $25 million.
Meeting at the board of aldermen's regular meeting, aldermen introduced two ordinances outlying the city's spending plans for its general fund, special funds and utility fund.
The board of aldermen most likely will adopt the city's new budget at its regular meeting in June.
West Monroe Mayor Dave Norris commended West Monroe city clerk Benny Chellette for helping the city remain on sound financial footing in crafting the city's proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
"It's a good budget for the next fiscal year," Norris said.
Norris also credited Chellette with helping the city remain within its operating budget amid rising costs during the current fiscal year.
"We're going to do fine but it's been hard to keep everything right because of the gas prices and cost of medical insurance," Norris said.
Norris also pointed to a six-percent rise in sales tax revenues as evidence of a rather strong economy in West Monroe.
That news came in spite of media reports to the contrary, Norris said.
In other business, the board of aldermen approved six ordinances to update portions of the city's building codes.
Norris said the move would help West Monroe residents by ensuring contractors were able to build modern, safe structures.
"We'll have some of the most up-to-date and most comprehensive rules and regulations to build by, to protect the public," Norris said.
Many of the building codes amended at Tuesday's meeting were original to the city's charter, Norris said.
Visitors to Restoration Park may soon be the beneficiaries of a new, scenic walkway, if a grant application to the Governor's Office Recreational Trails Program is approved.
Aldermen approved a resolution authorizing Norris to apply for a $94,000 grant to build a new, elevated walkway through an undeveloped portion of the park.
The proposed path of the walkway would take visitors through a low-lying wooded area before returning them to the main path.
"It is a relatively low area in there but it has some big pine trees and oaks and will be a beautiful place to walk," Norris said.
Norris hoped the addition of the path could increase traffic at the busy park on Constitution Drive.
"A lot of people use that park," Norris said.