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City budget work coming to an end

Brookhaven officials are wrapping up work on a $9.2 milliongeneral fund budget for the new year while a number of decisionsremain to be made regarding solid waste and water and sewerspending plans.

A public hearing on the 2006-07 city budget is planned fortonight at 5:30 in the city boardroom. Later, Mayor Bob Massengilland aldermen are expected to resume a recessed board meeting tocontinue budget work where needed.

“I think we’ll get through with the general fund budget withouta tremendous amount of discussion,” Massengill said. “We havealready spent a significant amount of time dealing with that.”

Massengill touted good progress during an earlier work sessionin which officials addressed pay raise plans, equipment purchaseissues and other budget items. The general fund budget calls for noincrease in the property tax levy.

“I’m excited we’re not going to have to do anything as far asmillage,” the mayor said.

The same, however, cannot be said for solid waste and water andsewer rates. Massengill offered a bit of good news, though, on thesolid waste front.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a large increase on garbage,”said Massengill, adding that there may be provisions for fueladjustments in a new garbage pickup contract being pursued jointlyby the city and county.

Massengill said new quotes for garbage pickup are expected Sept.13. He said any higher costs will be passed on to customers and nomore.

“Whatever the increase the contract has will be how much we goup,” the mayor said. “We will not be adding anything to it.”

Rates are also expected to go up in the city’s water and sewerfund. Massengill said he planned to discuss that budget in moredetail at tonight’s meeting.

“Most of the funds we’ve used to carry forward are gone,” saidMassengill, citing higher utility costs.

Massengill said eight water wells, 13 lift stations, a waterplant and a waste water treatment plant must be operational 24hours a day. The utility bill to keep those going has increased bymore than $250,000 from two years ago.

“That’s significant,” Massengill said.

Financial consultant Demery Grubbs has been looking at thecity’s water and sewer rate structures. Massengill indicated theconsultant’s finding would be discussed tonight.

Massengill said no one wants to raise rates on items like solidwaste and water and sewer, but increases are occasionallynecessary. The mayor expressed appreciation to City Clerk MikeJinks for his help with the budget preparation and praised aldermenfor taking an active interest in the discussions.

With discussions going well, the mayor hoped to wrap up budgetwork in the next few days and be in a position for the board toapprove budgets at the first meeting in September. The city’s newbudget year starts Oct. 1.