New Scottville budget balanced but slim, again

March 30, 2013

SCOTTVILLE – The proposed 2013-2014 City of Scottville budget is balanced, but slim, as it has been for the past few years. The city commission will preview the proposed budget during its regular meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. A public hearing is scheduled during the regular meeting on Monday, April 15.

City Manager Amy Williams, in her pre-meeting notes to the commission, reported the city will be operating at the same millage rate it has been for the past few years.

Williams said the new budget will keep employee wages the same as they have been for the past five years. In fact, five years ago employees had a reduction in wages. Since that time the Department of Public Works and police wages have increased since those departments are again working 40 hour work weeks.

One technical change in the budget is the split between Williams’ job duties. Williams is not only the city manager, she is also the treasurer. That position was eliminated a few years ago to save the city money. Since that time, the treasurer’s salary has not been a line item. Williams said she is now splitting the wages on the budget. “I spend a significant amount of time doing treasurer duties so we (the finance committee) felt my salary should be allocated between the two departments. This is something the auditors spoke about as well.

“The remaining departments within the general fund stayed about the same with the exception of the recreation department which decreased due to the school taking over the summer ball program.”

Mason County Central Schools will be administering the summer ball program this year.

Williams said a slight decrease in revenue is expected due to decreases in taxable values and state revenue sharing. “However, we still balanced the budget for the year while maintaining our levels of service.”

Streets. Williams said the city has planned for a significant amount of street work in the current year, which means expenses will be down for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins in October.

“I did increase of the expenditures along the winter side as although this year started out slow, it finished with some strong expenses. I’ve only budgeted for routine maintenance items for 2013-2014 which would include street patching, sign maintenance and tree removals.”

Refuse. The refuse budget is currently operating in the negative. “The only source of revenue this fund has is from the refuse tax,” she said. “However, the expenses come from both the refuse service we provide as well as the post landfill closure expenses which by itself has no offsetting revue.” Williams was referring to the former landfill located on First Street.

“In order to balance this fund I had to transfer $20,000 from the general fund. Right now the general fund has the money to transfer but that amount is being taken away from other possible projects within the fund. We are also in our last year of the contract with the refuse hauler so we will need to either bid that service out or re-negotiate the contract. The finance committee would like to look at some alternatives so we can bridge the gap without having to transfer so much general fund money in the future.”

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