Fuel costs take toll on city’s budget
By By Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
The good news is Hartselle is expecting to see a revenue increase in the coming year. The bad news is any additional city money will be eaten up by fuel and personnel costs.
City leaders are working on their annual budget and looking at sales tax revenue increases of some $100,000 from last year, thanks partly to the opening Walgreens last year and the opening of Lowe’s this fall. Revenues in the coming year are expected to top $10.5 million.
This will be the first full year of realizing the sales tax from Walgreens and Lowe’s will open in October. The developments are just two in the latest of several business openings this year, including Steak-Out, Bender’s Gym and Hickory Street Station.
On the flipside, expenses will be some $10.475 million. The biggest increases are seen in a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for employees, extra expenses related to worker’s compensation insurance and higher fuel costs.
Last year, the city spent $204,500 on fuel. This year, the city is budgeting $320,500 for fuel costs. The city maintains its own tanks and doesn’t have to purchase fuel on the retail market, however, it does absorb higher wholesale costs.
The tight budget doesn’t include any money for capital projects. Any decisions on those projects will be decided after the new council is seated Nov. 3.