Aldermen vote to merge city’s clerk, tax offices

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Brookhaven tax collector’s office will soon be no more.

The board of aldermen voted Tuesday to merge the city tax officewith the city clerk’s office. The merger will not be effectiveuntil July 1, 2005, but election and other issues required theboard to act now.

“We have to get this ball rolling well before the first of theyear,” said City Attorney Joe Fernald, referring to when potentialcandidates could start qualifying for the office.

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City Tax Collector Pat Duckworth is planning to retire at theend of the current term in June. She is in her fourth term.

The city clerk’s office and the county tax office will handleduties formerly done by the city tax office. Working out aninterlocal agreement with the county for its duties will be donelater, officials said.

“This is the first step we have to do to get these officestogether,” City Clerk Mike Jinks said about the merger of his andthe city tax office.

In city personnel matters, officials hope to finalize a newemployee handbook within the next few weeks. Mayor Bob Massengillsaid another board work session is needed before that can bedone.

During a discussion on fire department personnel raises,Massengill said the board also needed to set a work session toreview payroll structures within the city. He said it is a complexissue that would take some time to address.

“We’ve got numerous situations that don’t seem quite fair,” themayor said about inequities involving pay and length ofemployment.

Dates for the handbook and personnel pay work sessions were notscheduled last night.

Massengill also updated aldermen on city revenue and spendingfor the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

In the general fund, the mayor said the city spent $23,000 morethan it took in in revenue. With an $8 million budget, he said thatwas almost “break even,” and carryover funds were sufficient tocover the deficit.

The solid waste budget was in similar shape, spending $3,000more than it took in. However, Massengill said the city did notpurchase any needed new equipment last year.

In the water department, however, expenses were 3 percent morethan expected and revenue was 8 percent less. He said a surplus wassufficient to handle that but that the city did not need tocontinue to spend more money than it collects.

“Sooner or later, we’re going to use up our surplus, and we needto remember that,” Massengill said.

Overall, Massengill said two budgets looked “extremely good,”and the third was not so good.

“We need to keep our eyes on it through the year,” Massengillsaid.