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Public hearing on new budget set for Tuesday

It’s the time of year again where Brookhaven citizens get tospeak for themselves – and not through their elected officials – onmatters of the city budget.

Brookhaven leaders will hold a public hearing on the city’s newyear budget Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. And among topics on the table willbe a $.50 hike on each of the areas of water, sewer, and solidwaste, as well as the much-debated subject of possible raises forcity employees, including the board of aldermen.

Water will go up from $8.95 a month to $9.45, while sewer risesfrom $8.90 to $9.40. Solid waste will go up from $18.50 to $19.

City Clerk Mike Jinks said the hikes are because water, sewerand solid waste are enterprise funds, and they have to beself-sustaining. General fund money cannot be used to upkeep any ofthose funds.

“These funds have to generate enough money to carry themselvesand you’ve got to have enough money to pay cost of water sewer andsolid waste funds,” Jinks said. “They have to generate their ownincome, though solid waste also has four (property tax) mills to gooff of.”

At this point, with a possible 3 percent raise already figuredin for city employees, the city is looking at a $9.8 millionbudget, with a $3 million budget for water and sewer, and $1.4figured in for solid waste.

Jinks said the raises are the major variable at this point.

“We’re trying to determine what they’re going to do with raises,they’ve talked from nothing to 3 percent, and that’s where mydilemma is now on coming up with figures,” he said.

Jinks said the general fund budget is smaller for 2009-10 than2008-09 because there were so many grants at work in last year’sbudget.

All citizens in Brookhaven are invited to attend the publichearing, which will be held Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the LincolnCounty-Brookhaven Government Complex in the city boardroom.

“It’s their opportunity to give their thoughts and input to thecity concerning the budget and finances of the city,” Jinkssaid.