Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Council to consider budget Monday morning; here's a look at the mayor's proposal

By Clark Brooks
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Mayor Tom Bozarth has called a special meeting of the Midway City Council for 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 9, at City Hall for a budget work session and possible action on the budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The most noticeable highlight in Bozarth’s proposed budget would give Midway two newly paved streets. Johnson Street and Stephens Street will receive new blacktop next fiscal year, according to City Council Member Sharon Turner.

Midway is projected to spend $24,525 on street maintenance in the fiscal year that begins July 1, which would be $9,525 more than the $15,000 in the current budget.

The city expects to receive $36,000 from its share of the state’s motor fuels tax, $8,000 more than 2011, probably the result of the improving economy and rising gas prices. Revenue from this tax may only be used for road purposes.

Despite a 63.5 percent increase in street maintenance spending, the entire street department is expected to spend roughly $6,000 less in the next fiscal year. In the department, the city plans to cut spending on Christmas decorations, to $2,500 from $5,000, and on sidewalks and trees, to $5,000 from $10,000. Equipment expenses in the department would also be be cut in half, to $5,000 as opposed to $10,000 in the current budget.

Asked in an email interview why these cuts were being made, Bozarth said the city was “trying to be fiscally responsible.” Bozarth asked that the interview be conducted in writing, and no follow-up questions were asked.

The Rau building, which houses City Hall, will see its expenses rise $7,000, from $15,300 to $22,300, due to an increase in the building’s maintenance and repair costs.

The city’s general fund, which has the most expenses of any department, would see a rise in spending from $336,931 to $345,503 because of increased travel and utility expenses.

On the income side of the ledger, Midway expects to get $4,000 more from business licensing fees, a 45 percent increase, thanks to some increased fees and business growth in the city.

The city also plans to see a $25,000 increase in occupational taxes, its largest source of revenue, projected at $225,000 next year. The increase stems mainly from additional jobs at Midway College.

Midway is also expected to benefit from the recent Social Security tax-cut deal between President Obama and congressional Republicans, saving roughly $21,200 in payroll insurance across the board.
However, the city expects to miss out on $20,000 of insurance tax revenues, which vary from year to year and are dependent on insurance policies bought by local residents and businesses.

At the bottom line, the city expects to see a drop of about $20,000 decrease in the income line that the budget calls “contingency,” which is the money projected to be left over at the end of the year. The current year’s estimate was $47,390; at the end of the next fiscal year it is projected to be $27,378. On the appropriations side, various contingency funds total $18,000.

Amid the juggling of figures, the city’s general, non-utility budget calls for income and appropriations of $931,428, about $3,000 less than this year’s. To view the proposed budget, click here.

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