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Budget writers get ready to work

Brookhaven and Lincoln County officials said preparations fortheir new year budgets are under way, but work is not expected tobegin in earnest for another week or so.

“We’re going to really get started on the new budget after thenext board meeting,” said City Clerk Mike Jinks, referring to theJuly 20 meeting of the mayor and aldermen.

Jinks said city department heads have received lists to identifytheir budget requests for next year. Budget writers have askeddepartment heads to prioritize their budget needs on the lists,which Jinks hoped to have back by the end of the week.

Fiscal year 2005 for the city and county starts Oct. 1.

The focus now, Jinks said, is a revision of the current year’s$7.5 million budget. By various board actions, the budget isrevised throughout the year, but the final revision will cover cityspending plans from June 30 through the remainder of fiscal year2004.

Jinks saw no problems with the revision, which aldermen areexpected to act on next week.

“It’s just seeing where you can reduce some budgets and increaseothers,” said Jinks, adding oil and gas and utilities expenses willhave to be raised in several areas.

Lincoln County Administrator David Fields said county officesare preparing their new year appropriations requests this month. Heexpected to have some preliminary budget numbers in a fewweeks.

Like the city, Fields said the county is making plans to finishout the 2004 budget year. The county is working under an $10.8million budget.

“Everybody is in line on the budget for this fiscal year,”Fields said.

Fields was optimistic about the county’s continued ability tohold the budget in line.

“It’s not going to be too bad this year,” Fields said.

Fields said county health insurance costs are expected to remainabout the same, with possibly a slight decrease. Personnel-relateddecisions, such as employee pay raises, will be made closer tobudget time, he added.

Also like the city, an increase in fuel and oil costs isanticipated, with the sheriff’s department and road departmentseeing the largest jump due to their fleet of vehicles.

“You’re going to see some increase in that, but probably not asignificant number,” Fields said.