Mayor Arnell Willis presented some preliminary remarks regarding his proposed budget for 2013 Tuesday night that detailed a “low frills” policy that includes no additional manpower cuts but also no salary increases for city employees. Willis hopes the policy will help the city move forward during these “tough, tight and challenging times.”
Willis commented that it details, “holding the line” on overtime expenses and allowing travel pay only for required training.
We continue to operate under pressure to pay bills, buy needed equipment and make pay roll,” said Willis.
According to Willis, in 2010 the city closed the year out with a little over $9 million dollars, without the water department loan. Willis added that in 2011 there was a revenue spike that finished the year with $9.9 million. However, that trend did not last.
“In 2012 we started falling,” continued Willis.
At of close of Nov. 30 (today) the city will have allocated about $8.4 million in revenue, which is estimated to put the city at roughly at $9.2 million by the end of the year. This, said Willis, is about $700,000 less than the previous year.
Willis stated that his proposal was based on the 2012 salary and hourly wages and will be closely followed.
“In 2011, we made manpower cuts that I do not foresee in the future unless there is a drastic reduction in revenue,” commented Willis. “I don't have a crystal ball.”
Willis encouraged the council to review the proposed budget. Council members questioned the figures presented.
“In preparation of our budget discussion, is there any chance that we will be provided a budget comparison document to see where we are going over or staying under the budget in each category?” inquired councilman Don Etherly.
Councilman Christopher Franklin agreed, stating that he wanted the mayor to include each department head report.
“Let's see for ourselves what these numbers reflect,” said Franklin.
It was reported that the department head reports for November have not been compiled.
The council took no action.