City looking at slim 2007 budget

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's City Council may have to come up with a juggling act to balance the 2006-07 budget unless tax receipts and other revenue sources perk up substantially during the last three months of the current fiscal year.
Nine months in, at the end of June, sales tax receipts showed a $62,258 increase from the same time in the prior year but it remained to be seen if they would meet or exceed the amount budgeted at the end of September. Overall, tax revenues are up 3.7 percent.
Some other revenue bright spots included ad valorem (property) tax up $18,000; business privilege licenses up $11,000; and interest on reserve funds up $60,000.
"Overall, revenues were at 71.4 percent of budget and expenses at 58.23 percent of budget at the end of May", Rita Lee, city clerk/controller said. "These are positive figures but on the expense side they don't account for some large capital expenditures that are yet to be made."
Mayor Dwight Tankerlsey said the city will begin budget reviews with department heads in July.
"At this point it doesn't look like we'll have very much additional revenue with which to work," Tankersley said.
"It will be pretty much level funding," he added. "How well we do with this year's budget on the expenditures side will be a factor. We're operating under budget now. It that trend continues, we'll have some revenue to carry over."
Last year a carryover of $366,000 was used to fund capital expenditures totaling $237,000 and help balance a $9 million budget.
Tankersley said there has been some talk among council members about including a new fire engine in the next budget.
"If that should happen, we're talking about an expenditure of over $300,000," he said. "It would be difficult to handle unless cuts are made in some of the other departments."
A major new expense item that will have to be included in the next budget stems from the city's recent purchase of 18.8 acres of land at the I-65 and Highway 36 interchange. After paying $550,000 down on the $1.9 million deal, the city agreed to pay off the balance at a rate of $27,667 per month for five years.
Tankersley said he and Lee will initiate the budget review process by meeting with department heads on July 17. The council will begin a department by department review either at a regular work session on July 24 or a called work session on July 26.

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