$500K from utilities helps Opp budget

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thanks to an extra $500,000 passed on to the City of Opp from the Opp Utilities Board, the city of Opp now has enough funding for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

“We did not have the funds to operate our city,” Opp Mayor John Bartholomew said in Tuesday’s work session. “The revenue just wasn’t there.”

The city council passed a $6.32 million budget, which is more than the approved budget from the last fiscal year, but less than the actual amount of expenses from last year.

In FY 2012, the city of Opp budgeted $6.04 million, but actually spent $6.36 million.

The city has been operating under the 2012 budget until Tuesday night.

“We wanted to work under what they spent last year,” Bartholomew said. “So we cut our budget to spend less money than last year.”

Bartholomew said though the city has cut its budget, residents can expect the same services.

“We are tightening our belts, but we aren’t going to lose our services,” he said.

Highlights of the budget include:

• No allotment for animal control salaries;

• A decrease in salaries for the mayor and city council from last year because the city council is not certified yet. City Clerk Connie Smith said that when council members receive basic certification they receive an extra $150 per month and then another $150 once they complete advanced certification.

• $90,000 budget for Rattlesnake Rodeo entertainment. That’s up from last year’s $80,000 budgeted amount. The city spent $144,187 on entertainment last year. The overall rodeo budget is set for $164,400.

• $118,300 in contributions to agencies and organizations such as EMA, Hardin Street Community Center, Head Start, the chamber, Opp Benevolence, health department, economic development board, transit system, Opp Saddle Club, Van Heusen Building and Christmas decorations.