The council had the first reading of the city’s budget ordinance, which will go into affect at the beginning of July for the new fiscal year.
Mayor Jim Wilkerson presented the budget, which is balanced, but he said the losses of tax revenue when the Auburn Hosiery Mill and the IGA Supermarket left town has hurt.
“We’re healthy now, but when you look at our revenue versus our expenditures – we’re not going to get any healthier,” Wilkerson said. “Without getting some growth, there is going to have to be some taxation.”
The budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year has $801,404 in anticipated revenues and $1.275 million in expenditures. The shortfall will be made up by the $2.08 million in carryover funds from the previous fiscal year.
The city’s spending breaks down in the following areas: general government - $277,019; police - $94,435; fire $125,561; park - $25,561; streets - $120,879; economic development - $15,500; and water & sewer - $616,466.
There was also plenty of discussion when it came to the city employees’ benefits.
Council member Becky Tinch made a motion to accept a contract from Cintas that would provide the two city water and sewer workers with uniforms. The cost would be $36.75 per week for each employee.
Mayor Wilkerson was against spending the money for the uniforms.
“I’m looking at dollars and cents and that comes out to about a $1 per hour increase for clothing for those two employees,” Wilkerson said.
He added that it would not be fair to give some of the city employees an added benefit without doing something similar for the others.
The motion passed with a 4-1 vote, however, with councilman Danny Finch the lone “no” vote. Councilman Tony Nichols was absent.
“I just liked it better what we were doing before (about the uniforms),” Finch said.
The most recent plan the city used was to give the two water & sewer employees an annual stipend to buy work clothes.
The council also debated what to do about the rising cost of insurance for the city employees.
After discussing several options, Tinch recommended that the city continue paying the higher insurance fees for the time being, but hold off on approving any raises.
The rest of the council agreed with a unanimous vote.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• Tinch announced that the community cemetery cleanup would be Saturday, June 4 – weather permitting. The city will be providing help with the cleanup of Greenwood Cemetery, but the public is invited to come out and help get it looking good.
• Mayor Wilkerson said that one of the city water towers sustained $1,200 in damages during the recent storms.
• The council also had first reading on a new ordinance for water leak adjustments that would allow customers to apply for an adjustment only once every two years. The ordinance will be voted on by the council at a second reading. “We feel good about this ordinance the way it is now,” councilman Bill Steen said.