Helena-West Helena City Clerk Sandi Ramsey sent out an e-mail alert Tuesday that the city may have difficulty meeting payroll that is due this coming Friday.
“Payroll is due this Friday, and as of today (Tuesday) I do not have finances to cover it,” stated Ramsey in the e-mail. It is IMPERATIVE that the employees receive their checks. It is quite possible that elected officials (all of us) will not be paid on Friday if I cannot find enough money. I just wanted to give you advance notice”
According to Ramsey, the city's on- going debt and expenses are tremendous and unfortunately due to the lack of revenue coming in, minus the sales tax, the city is diligently searching for a way to make payroll this week. Ramsey confirmed that at this time, she is looking at other areas to help collect the money but this will only increase the city's current debt that is yet to be paid back to the departments that the city previously borrowed funds.
“We are at a historical low in funds right now and are having to pull funds from other departments which only adds to the city's current debt,” commented Ramsey
Ramsey expressed that there was a little ray of hope of additional revenue through the sales tax. However, she said, it isn't going to stretch far as needed. She added that she could only estimate how much of that tax the city will receive.
“We anticipate that the funds will be in by the Feb. 25,” she reported. “However, I am estimating that out of the anticipated $174,000 as reflected on the amount from last year, $116,000 will have to go to pay the first payroll in March.”
“I will do what I have to make sure that the city employees are paid, unfortunately that may mean that the elected officials will just have to wait,” Ramsey concluded.