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Budget, Council Seat Vacancy Discussed at Russell City Council Work Study

Russell City Council 2013 JuneRussell City Councilmembers met Tuesday afternoon for their monthly work study session where they discussed the 2014 budget, possible upgrades to the city's electric equipment, the vacant council position and where Russell is with its water situation.

City Attorney Ken Cole told the Council Tuesday that the vacant council position, resulting from the June resignation of Ward 4 Councilman Dave Harry, will be filled by appointment by the city's governing body.

Citizens in Ward 4 wanting to serve in the position should contact Mayor Curt Mader or their respective Councilmember.

The Council also continued to address the 2014 budget at the work study. It was brought up by City Manager Jon Quinday that two new city employee positions might be built in to next years budget. He said in talks with Fire Chief Shane Preston, Police Chief Dale Weimaster and Planning, Zoning and Building Director Barry Mooney the need for a code enforcement officer and/or another police officer is definitely there. Quinday says the position or positions could be full or part-time.

The final budget will be voted on in August.

Other topics discussed Tuesday included water and electricity.

Electric Utilities Director Duane Banks brought forward a presentation about what upgrades still need to be made to city generators and other electric equipment. According to Banks, around $10 million worth of purchases, installations and updates would need to be put into the city's system over the next few years to get the system where it needs to be and also so it can be compliant with new EPA standards.

A water update was also addressed. City Manager Quinday said Big Creek is now officially dry at Russell's pumping station and the city is now relying solely on the Pfiefer wells for its water. However, he did also thank the citizens of Russell for their water conservation efforts as compared to just last year in May and June, Russell used about seven to eight million gallons less per month during this year's May and June.

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