Emerson sees drop in proposed budget
by Jessica Loeding
May 24, 2011 | 2191 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Calling the proposed 2011-2012 budget pessimistic, Emerson City Manager Kevin McBurnett said the plan includes no growth. A first reading of the budget was held during Monday's city council meeting.

"The proposed 2011-2012 budget is a flat budget. It shows no growth," McBurnett said.

Coming in almost $200,000 less than 2010-2011, the budget cuts every area expense except the municipal court and garbage accounts. At $1,685,985, the upcoming plan is 10.2 percent lower than the current budget of $1,876,573.50. The council voted to amend the 2010-2011 budget in what Mayor Al Pallone called an "end-of-the-year kind of adjustment."

Revenue in each of the three areas -- general fund, water and sewer, and garbage -- either decreased or remained the same. The general fund is expected to show almost $100,000 less in revenue in the coming year. The water and sewer fund decreased by $121,523, from $597,223 in the current year to $475,700.

A drop in city wages was attributed to positions not being filled, no pay raises and department heads minimizing overtime. McBurnett stressed the city had not lost positions.

Pallone said the city also looked at the cutting back and becoming more efficient in the police department to aid the budget. The Emerson Police Department saw a drop of roughly $50,000 in its budget from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012.

The development of Love's Travel Stop & Country Store off Interstate 75 was credited with bolstering the current year's budget.

Last year, the 2010-2011 budget saw a 14 percent increase over 2009-2010. In May 2010, McBurnett said the city would have been "upside down" for this year if not for the development of Love's.

In 2011-2012, the city does not have that type growth to lean on.

"We have nothing on the books. We do have some interested parties, as you know" in terms of development, he said, referring to the proposed 1,380-acre LakePoint Sports development. "At this time, we have no commitments."

If approved at the June council meeting, the 2011-2012 budget will take effect July 1.

In other business, the council:

* Approved a resolution accepting a sanitary sewer easement from Allatoona Distribution LLC.

* Approved a resolution accepting a sanitary sewer easement from Blankinship & Gaskin Properties LLC.

* Approved a resolution accepting a sanitary sewer easement from Love's Travel Stop & Country Stores Inc.

* Held a first reading of the 2011-2012 budget for confiscated assets. That budget is proposed at $13,500.