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Sanders releases proposed Blytheville budget for 2013

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blytheville Mayor James Sanders released his proposed 2013 budget Thursday.

The budget projects revenues of $19,778,019.63 versus proposed expenditures of $19,687,060.07. Projected revenue is up about $2.6 million from the 2012 budget of $17,132,803.00. Meanwhile, proposed expenditures are up about $3.6 million from the 2012 budget of $16,024,533.

The biggest reason both are up is the delinquent payroll tax issue.

The proposed budget anticipates the city spending $2,556,667 on "repayment of back taxes," which is listed under General Administration, and collecting $2,556,666.63 from the temporary 1-cent IRS tax.

Projected revenues are listed as follows: General Fund, $11,520,169.63 ($8,847,253 in 2012 budget); Health and Sanitation, $2,125,000 ($2,125,000 in 2012); Street Fund, $911,000 ($892,000 in 2012 budget); Wastewater, $1,921,850 ($1,968,550 in 2012 budget); and Waterworks, $3,300,000 ($3,300,000 in 2012 budget).

Proposed expenditures are as follows: General Administration, $3,299,878.63 ($615,259 in 2012 budget); Finance, $160,171.11 ($131,894 in 2012 budget); City Collector, $48,729 ($47,961 in 2012 budget); City Clerk, $64,373.01 ($60,999 in 2012 budget); Municipal Court, $204,836 ($197,079 in 2012 budget); Police Department, $2,871,460.48 ($2,955,703 in 2012 budget); Animal Control, $85,722.89 ($88,580 in the 2012 budget); Fire Department, $2,456,626 ($2,174,862 in 2012 budget); Code Enforcement, $139,105.17 ($141,939 in 2012 budget); Youth Sportsplex, $171,115 ($162,740 in 2012 budget); Delta Gateway Museum, $87,578 ($72,285 in 2012 budget); Shop, $72,536 ($69,952 in 2012 budget); Street Department, $1,085,508 ($891,861 in 2012 budget); Corrections, $805,336 ($493,935 in 2012 budget); Health and Sanitation, $2,193,723 ($2,218,981 in 2012 budget); Transfer Station, $80,693 ($78,923 in 2012 budget); Signs and Signals, $219,152 ($216,510 in 2012 budget); Communications, $265,318.73 ($264,651 in 2012 budget); Wastewater, $1,898,389 ($1,938,460 in 2012 budget); Thunder Bayou Golf Links, $550,475 ($540,607 in 2012 budget); City Parks and Pool, $371,208 ($372,411 in 2012 budget); Waterworks, $2,470,073.05 ($2,204,656 in 2012 budget); and City Attorney, $85,053 ($84,285 in 2012 budget).

Other than the IRS matter, some of the other significant changes to the proposed General Administration budget are approximately a $32,000 hike in salaries; an increase from $500 in 2012 to a proposed $55,000 for "dues and subscriptions;" and cuts to contributions to the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Blytheville, which would received half the funding of the 2012 budget.

Sanders noted the "dues and subscriptions" line includes the Arkansas Municipal League fees.

Under the proposed budget, the "Technical Services/Chamber" line would be lowered from $27,000 in 2012 to $13,500, while the "Main Street" line would decrease from $36,000 to $18,000.

Another big change that is in the proposed budget is a line in the Corrections budget for 2011/2012 jail fees. The $300,000 proposed expenditure is in addition to the jail housing fees, which increases from $372,600 in the 2012 budget to $388,140 in the proposed 2013 budget.

Sanders noted the 2011/2012 jail fees line is simply a proposal for the Council to consider as officials continue to talk with Municipal League attorneys that are defending the city in a case filed by the county, which claimed in May that Blytheville owes approximately $600,000 in jail fees.

Meanwhile, Sanders said he is giving the three newly elected Council member a copy of the proposed budget so they can have an opportunity to look it over before being sworn in on Jan. 1.

"I hope it will be a living and breathing budget this year," Sanders said.

He said he hopes the Council makes changes throughout the year and revisits the budget regularly.

The Finance Committee is expected to start working on the 2013 budget on Dec. 11, its regularly scheduled meeting.

The board is chaired by outgoing City Councilman and soon-to-be State Rep. Monte Hodges, who said he will be unable to meet next week because he has to be in Little Rock.

mbrasfield@couriernews.net

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