‘Strategic’ budget OK’d

Published 11:57 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Andalusia City Council Tuesday night passed a $15.5 million budget it heralded as “conservative” for the fiscal year that began this month and ends Sept. 30, 2014.

Mayor Earl Johnson said council members worked closely with the city clerk to design the budget.

He said the budget “will position the council, we hope, strategically for the next several years to come.”

Despite passing a new sales tax that was implemented in July, the budget is projecting less revenue than last year’s budget, outside of the new sales tax monies that go to match a grant to improve South Three Notch, and to support local schools.

“This is a conservative approach,” Johnson said. “We tried to be very conservative in what we think revenue is going to be,” he said. “We hope it’s up more than 3 percent, but we didn’t budget for that.”

Johnson said that FYE 2014 expenses are budgeted at one-half percent less than FYE 2013 expenses. Forty-nine percent of the city’s expenses are in salaries, wages and benefits, he said. Eleven percent is for debt service.

“That is a very strong number, and not as high as a lot of cities and other organizations,” he said. “I think we are strategically in a good place to move forward.”

The budget resolution also freezes hiring without prior approval of the mayor, and instructs department heads to limit overtime and not to exceed budgeted expenses.

Of the $15.5 million in budgeted expenditures:

• Administration and finance – $559,272

• Information technology – $288,533

• Human Resources – $179,815

• Court – $222,701

• Adult Activity Center – $327,584

• Library – $267,962

• Golf Course – $329,549

• Mapping – $236,550

• Inspection – $198,384

• Maintenance – $392382

• Horticulture – $151,841

• Parks/Rec – $886,865

• Police/Administration – $2.1 million

• Animal control – $129,683

• Fire department – $1.1 million

• Street Department – $958965

• Sanitation – $361,835

• Landfill – $111,956

• Recycling – $273,116

• Education – $2.1 million

• Long-term debt – $1.65 million

• Miscellaneous – $2.5 million. Of this, $2 million is matching funds for the South Three Notch Street project. An additional $90,000 is for new street lights.

The budget projects total revenue at just over $16 million, including sales taxes, ad valorem taxes, gasoline taxes, sanitation services, and receipts from the golf course, Cooper pool, and other leisure activities. State law requires cities to hold a portion of its expected revenue in contingency.