Montgomery mayor proposes 2011 budget without cuts

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "The total budget being proposed is $218 million," says Montgomery Mayor, Todd Strange.

Strange unveiled his proposal for next year's city budget and it doesn't include any cuts or higher taxes.

He says the city has held the line on expenses through the tough economic times which he believes is good news for taxpayers.

That dollar amount may sound familiar.  It's the same as this year's bottom line.

"We had a goal of trying to get it at or below last year's budget," says Strange.

So far Strange says 2011 is more than $200,000 dollars under last year.

Thanks to hiring freezes and city departments finding ways to create more revenue over the past year he says Montgomery is operating within its means. That means residents won't be asked to make up for any deficits.

"From what I'm seeing, they're cutting back in the right places and they need to continue their efforts in that," says Montgomery resident, Debbie Lynn Robison.

Luckily, Strange says the 2011 spending plan does not include any cuts.

Last year's budget process took care of that.

"I think it's going to be an easier job because we did most of the heavy lifting last year," says Strange.

Some of that lifting involved cutting 130 employees to save money.

Strange had two goals for next year's budget--keep spending levels flat and increase contributions to the city's reserve account.

City council members seemed pleased with the results.

"There's some hardships, there's some people that got laid off last year, and we hate that for anybody, but the budget we got is very conservative, very fair," says City Councilman, Charles Smith.

"I just think the projection looks very promising compared to yesteryear," says City Councilman, David Burkette.

Robison says she'll take any budget that doesn't impact her pocketbook.

"As long as they don't increase it anymore, then I'm all for it. But to increase it, I would have to say something about that."

Despite the good news, there is one small fee increase in next year's budget.

Folks wanting to play tennis at the O'Conner Tennis Center will have to pay an additional $2 dollars. That money will go towards new courts.

City council members say they still have a little tweaking to do before they pass the budget.

That should happen at the next council meeting September 7th.

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