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— City council members on Monday amended the 2009 budget to reflect 2009 expenditures and adopted a new budget for 2010.

After some discussion of individual line-item overages, the council unanimously approved amendments to the city’s 2009 budget.

The amended line items only reflected places where expenditures exceeded the line items in the budget adopted by the council a year ago. No council action was necessary where money budgeted for 2009 was not used.

“I am confident that we will finish (the year) at or under budget in all areas but the library,” said Gentry Mayor Wes Hogue, explainingthat the few overages were countered by the many line items in which less was spent than budgeted.

The council also unanimously approved a salary schedule for 2010 which is unchanged from 2009 except for those employees who moved up a step in the salary schedule due to longevity or training and licensing. Though across-the-board pay raises were discussed in committee meetings, they were not included in the 2010 budget because of the downturn in incoming tax revenues. Council members (in committee meetings) suggested revisiting the issue of raises in the future if incoming revenue makes it possible.

The 2010 budget was also unanimously approved by the council on Monday, with little discussion and no debate because the council actively participated in budget preparation and went through the mayor’s draft budget line by line looking for areas to cut so that the city would not find itself in financial difficulty should incoming tax revenue continue to be down.

“I want to express my appreciation to the council for working together and holding the line,” said council member James Furgason. Other council members joined in thanking city clerk Jo Ellen Martin for her work in compiling figures for the council to use in working with the mayor on the final 2010 budget.

The adopted general fund budget includes cuts in expenditures of more than $100,000 over the mayor’s original draft which was already $11,000 less than the 2009 budget.

The new budget lists anticipated general fund revenues of $1.258 million and budgeted expenditures of $1.141 million. County tax revenues are listed at $874,210 with budgeted expenditures of $649,100. The water and sewer department is projecting income of $2.472 million with actual expenses of $1.941 million, with the difference going into a depreciation and reserve account and a restricted account and $305, 357 counted as a 14.1 percent budget cushion.

News, Pages 1 on 12/09/2009

Print Headline: City budget approved

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