Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Administrators cut over $1M from budget
By William Kincaid
CELINA - Safety service director Tom Hitchcock said he doesn't want city departments to spend more than they take in this year.
His financial goal appears to be largely realized as city administrators slashed well over $1 million from the proposed 2012 budget.
"It was one of mayor (Jeff) Hazel's goals to keep expenses under estimated revenue," Hitchcock said this morning. "I was very pleased with how the department heads responded to the request."
City council members met Monday night to continue reviewing the 2012 budget, which will be presented for first reading at the regular council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at city hall.
Hitchcock said the proposed budget does not create any new debt for the city.
Councilman Mike Sovinski, who chairs the personnel and finance committee, on Monday night said council's work so far on the budget has not been a waste, just tweaked by the new administration.
Only the water department's proposed expenditures for 2012 will exceed revenue, but that's because $200,000 had to be appropriated to replace a faulty Beaver Creek waterline, Hitchcock told council members.
Council members reviewed the proposed administrative changes to the budget and seemed to be satisfied. One of the significant changes was a $1.18 million reduction to the electric fund, bringing it to $18.024 million.
"That's not a trimming, that's an amputation," councilman June Scott said.
The reduction was made in part by the elimination of a planned $110,000 paving project and a $75,000 line item determined to be a duplicate expense. Also, the water treatment plant won't be getting an emergency generator estimated at $305,000 this year. Many other accounts within the electric fund also were reduced.
Other cuts include $141,787 to the general fund, $28,190 from the parks and recreation fund, $52,431 from the water fund, $61,182 from the wastewater fund, $13,560 from the state highway fund, and $50,000 from the special fund.
Personnel requests for various departments were not detailed during the meeting.
As of Monday night, the proposed 2012 budget appropriates $38.01 million for all city funds, including $6.51 million for the general fund, which finances operational cost and the police and fire departments.
The total budget for 2011 was set at $38.91 million.
City auditor Betty Strawn told council members the books for 2011 may be closed out sometime this week.
The city again is poised to have a general fund carryover of more than $1 million. In 2010, the city had a general fund carryover of $1.124 million.