|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - August 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
City budget to grow 2.2%
Polk County Enterprise
LIVINGSTON — The City of Livingston General Operating Fund budget will increase by 2.2 percent, chiefly because of a cost-of-living salary adjustment for all city employees, according to the proposed budget presented last week by City Manager Marilyn Sutton. Official anticipate cash receipts to drop by $477,847 from the previous fiscal year partly due to the disaster recovery funds from Hurricane Ike that the city received during 2009-2010. Sutton expects a reduction in building, electrical and plumbing permit fees as well as several major construction projects near completion. “The city experienced a siginificant decline in our local economy in 2010, which affected local sales tax revenue and hotel occupancy tax revenue,” Sutton said in a transmittal statement to city council members. She expects sales tax revenues to recover slightly in the coming year, calling for a 1.7 percent recovery from 2010’s low numbers. Sutton also anticipates municipal court fines and user fees collected by the parks and recreation department and library also to decline. Sanitation fees will increase due to a rate increase, the first to be implemented since 2006. On the expense side of the proposed budget, Sutton is projecting a 10 percent increase in gas and diesel fuel costs, a 4 percent increase in employee health insurance and a 5.3 percent increase in retirement costs. The city will extend the hiring freeze imposed earlier this year and no new staff positions are included in the budget. The 2011 budget calls for $668,000 in capital outlays funded from the general fund. Those capital items include normal recurring expenses such as road materials, office and computer equipment, grounds maintenance equipment, communications equipment and firefighting and hazardous materials equipment. Other capital outlays include: • $52,000 for two police vehicles. • $107,000 for seal coat and drainage work. • $50,000 for pavilion renovations at Pedigo Park. • $85,000 for a central fueling station and fuel management system. • $60,000 to replaster the swimming pool at Matthews Street park. A complete listing of capital expenditures is available in the budget document and can be obtained from the city secretary’s office. Debt service General fund expenditures to retire debt are forecast to increase $238,895.15 in fiscal year 2011. Debt service will total $953,423.24 for 2010-2011 with $417,942 going toward Certificates of Obligation (COs) issued in 2002 and $72,328.75 for COs issued in 2007. Utility fund Sutton projects the electric, water and sewer departments to generate $14,552,500 in revenue in the upcoming year. Those revenue projections include a half-cent per kilowatt hour increase in electric service fees to offset an increase in wholesale power costs from the city’s supplier. There will also be an increase in water service fees to offset the new debt service costs in association with the upgrade transmission lines from the Trinity River Authority. Operating expenses for the utility fund are budgeted at $12,241,675, an increase of $309,233 (2.6 percent) from the fiscal year 2010 budget. The increase includes the higher wholesale electric costs in addition to the cost increases that will impact the general fund budget. The utility fund also includes capital improvements such as $147,000 to repaint an elevated water storage tank and $150,000 to upgrade the water distribution line on SH 146 South and $150,000 for a lift station upgrade on U.S. 59 south.