Aldermen to vote on 2011-12 budget

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Brookhaven’s board of aldermen will vote Tuesday night on a2011-12 city budget that will increase benefits to city employeesand raise fees for some city services.

Final numbers will not be available until the board’s meeting, butexpenditures are expected to fall between $10 and $11 million withrevenues $700,000 to $900,000 below that. The city currently has a$1.3 million surplus, which can be used to cover any deficitincurred by the new budget.

Under the new budget water, sewer and garbage fees will each go upby 50 cents on the minimum charge.

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Currently the combined minimum charge for the three services is$39.35. The increases would push that charge up to $40.85.

For water, the minimum charge covers up to 3,000 gallons. Usersthat go over 3,000 gallons will see no increase in the additionalfees they incur.

The Water and Sewer and Solid Waste departments are enterprisebudgets and must operate out of the revenue they generate. Cityleaders have indicated the increased fees are necessary to keepthose departments financially stable.

Increased benefits include a 3 percent raise for all cityemployees, aldermen included, and a vision insurance plan that willprovide each city employee with an annual eye exam.

The 2011-12 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and the board has untilSept. 15 to pass its new budget.

No aldermen have indicated plans to vote against the budget theyhave prepared in work sessions, but a number of issues remainunresolved from those work sessions that could emerge as points ofcontention Tuesday night.

Among those points is the inclusion of aldermen within the raisefor city employees. Alderman at Large Karen Sullivan and Ward FourAlderman Shirley Estes have opposed the move, while Ward SixAlderman David Phillips has opposed all raises.

Other aldermen have openly supported the inclusion of aldermen andso the raises seem likely to pass.

Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates has expressed a desire to cutappropriations to the Parks and Recreation Department due to hisconcerns about how those appropriations are being managed.

The distribution of paving funds has also been a subject ofperennial controversy, making it another likely stickingpoint.

“We’re going to look at some things, and we’re going to hash it outtonight,” Bates said of the Tuesday evening board meeting.

The city board meeting will get under way at 6:30 p.m. in the cityboardroom at the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Government Complex.