By LYDIA BERGLAR
After discussion about increasing the city’s contribution to the Dade County Public Library and mentioning a few other budget lines, the City of Trenton Board of Commissioners approved the 2024 budget during the September 11 meeting.
Mayor Alex Case sent the commissioners the final proposed budget earlier that day. With a 4.4980 millage rate (the same as last year’s), the city is accepting the growth and a roughly $55,000 increase in revenue from property taxes.
Included in the budget is a seven percent raise for full-time city employees, $2,800 allocated for training members of the Downtown Development Authority, and $12,000 in additional support for the library.
Regarding the DDA, there are no significant new updates, but Case, Monda Wooten (street commissioner), and Sandy White (Alliance for Dade president and CEO) continue to speak highly of the DDA.
Regarding the library, Case explained that he added the library’s requested $1,000 per month additional funding to the budget, and it was up to the commissioners to approve. He said, “I’ll leave it up to y’all for what you want to do, but I feel it’s necessary for our children…to keep up with five days a week.”
Mike Norris (police commissioner) expressed his concern about increased funding for the library, as well as the DDA, due to concerns about the tax burden on citizens. He noted that he thinks the library is doing great work, but he has heard from citizens (particularly senior citizens living on a fixed income) who are concerned about their tax bills. Norris explained that he is concerned about future years that may require an increased millage rate.
Wooten answered Norris, “We balanced the budget. We’re just taking the growth, not raising the millage…If we were asking to raise the millage, I would be with you.”
Case added, “We’ve taken the growth the last eight years in a row…Ever since I have been mayor, we have not raised the millage once.”
Wooten asked, “What do you think we spend on the ball fields? What do you think we spend on the park? It’s our business to do that. We have to be good stewards of these taxpayer’s dollars.”
At the end of the meeting, the board voted three-to-one to approve the budget, with Norris first abstaining from voting, and then voting against the motion.
The board also voted to surplus a Trenton Police patrol car to Dade County Emergency Medical Services.
Norris read the police report. In August, the Trenton Police Department answered 323 calls for service and completed 1,435 business checks. 87 traffic stops resulted in 47 citations being issued.
Lucretia Houts (fire and utility commissioner) read the fire report. In August, the Trenton Fire Department had 91 calls, 41 of which were canceled en route and 16 of which were fire related.
Eloise Gass reported that Tree City USA has five new members and they were asked by the school system to plant a sugar maple in honor of Cal Riddle, a previous teacher, coach, and principal with the school system.
In Mindy Haworth’s report on the library, she encouraged teachers who want to work after school or on Saturdays to apply to be a tutor with Time with Teacher. The program has been most utilized by third and fifth grade students, and the top two subjects are reading and math.
Haworth noted that the library recently purchased Radon testing kits for free use by patrons with library cards. The kits are available for a two-week checkout period (which is about how long the test usually takes) with two renewals. The kits come with instructions.
She addressed the board’s consideration of the budget, saying, “I know you’ve been in talks about the library. We [serve] not just one population of Dade County. We service the entire demographic…I appreciate everything y’all do for us and how much support you give the library.”