Challenging year will be nothing new

May. 19, 2014 @ 09:35 PM

The Henderson city council has been presented a $37 million budget, not including grants or capital improvement projects, to consider for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Ray Griffin, the city manager, and the council took a first look at the proposed budget that is about $2 million more than last fiscal year's budget.

Councilwoman Fearldine Simmons was absent for Monday's budget meeting.

Griffin said the budget was drafted with serious "belt-tightening" efforts.

"It is often said that local government must tighten its belt when financial times are difficult," Griffin said in his budget message to the council. “No one would disagree; however, one must realize the city has been tightening its belt since the late 1990s."

The budget does not include an increase in property taxes or in the sanitation fee.

But there is a 5 percent increase in the water rate, translating into roughly 69 cents more each month and $8.28 more each year based on usage of nearly 6,000 gallons per month.

Griffin said the 5 percent increase on residential customers inside the city was to help mitigate revenue losses from reduced consumption and to keep capital reserve contributions at projected levels.

The sewer rate would increase 3 percent, which would cost an additional $1.65 per month and $19.80 per year based on nearly 6,000 gallons per month.

The proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budget allocates $7.2 million for the water fund, $4.8 million to the sewer fund and $4.3 million to the regional water system fund.

The general operating fund would comprise $15.2 million of the total budget.

The grant project funds, which are not included in the annual budget, are estimated to be $1.2 million in July 2014.

The capital improvement projects funds, also not included in the annual budget, are estimated to be $29.3 million in July 2014.

Council members agreed to have a budget work session meeting Tuesday to discuss the regional water funds, water funds, sewer funds, capital reserve and capital improvement projects funds.

There will be a meeting held on Thursday to discuss the general fund revenue and expenditures.

The council is scheduled to approve a new budget on June 23.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.