City officials are continuing to address the sinking funds that the city is currently experiencing and the expenses that lie ahead. At Tuesday's Helena-West Helena City Council session Treasurer Patrick Robertson reported that the city still owes worker's compensation for 2012 and again in August for the year 2013, both payments reflecting over $72,000.
The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
Updated Jul. 26, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
Updated Jul. 26, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
» Social News
City officials are continuing to address the sinking funds that the city is currently experiencing and the expenses that lie ahead. At Tuesday's Helena-West Helena City Council session Treasurer Patrick Robertson reported that the city still owes worker's compensation for 2012 and again in August for the year 2013, both payments reflecting over $72,000. “We are still facing dire financial difficulties in paying our bills and further cuts need to be made,” commented Robertson in the report provided The Helena World. City Clerk Sandi Ramsey has ordered her people to go to a 4-day work week due to the difficulty of meeting the payroll and Mayor Arnell Willis has requested that the hourly paid employees reduce the next payroll to 32 hours a week in all departments except for the police and fire departments. “We will be closed on Fridays,” Willis reported. According to Willis some businesses and other municipalities have gone or plan to go to a 32-hour a week schedule in an effort to save more money during these difficult economic times. “Elected officials and administrators will still be here but the hourly paid employees will have to take a cut to 32 hours,” confirmed Willis. Councilman Larry Brown asked how short the city is compared to last year. “What is it that has caused this to get this bad?” inquired Brown. According to Willis, the problem has several factors that reflect the current economic strong hold on the city's finances. “The decrease of the numbers reflected by the 2010 Census and the decrease of both sales turn back revenue as well as the sales tax we have lost to the tune of $100,000 plus, has proven to be the big problem,” said the mayor. “At the same time all other revenue categories such as franchise fees are decreasing as well. We came into the year with a little over $2 million in the hole and we have never really recovered from that.” Brown asked whether or not future cuts of the employees will be initiated and Willis reassured him that for now only hours would be cut. Ramsey reported that revenue is down and it's getting tougher for the city to make ends meet. “I have had to borrow $30,000 from the street department and $60,000 from the policing funds,” Ramsey reported. “The sales tax is estimated to be bringing in $350,000 and we still have a $116,000 payroll. With the retirement and health insurance and what we owe to the state we will have expended our money.” Ramsey said there won't be enough to buy gasoline and oil for the police cars and that the city cell phones will be cut off if a payment of $13,000 cannot be paid. The landlines are behind by four months in payments and she is searching for options to keep emergency lines operating. “Sales taxes are down because people just don't have the money anymore,” concluded Ramsey.