Fairhope mayor, council try to overcome $4 million dollar budget - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Fairhope mayor, council try to overcome $4 million dollar budget discrepancy

FAIRHOPE, AL (WALA) -

Fairhope mayor, Karin Wilson called an emergency budget meeting with the city council Wednesday morning, December 6, 2017.  She said she’s concerned because she presented the budget in September and Fairhope is the only city in the county still trying to get its budget passed. 

The new fiscal year started in October, but Fairhope is still operating off of 2017 budget numbers and will continue to do so until a new budget is passed.  The overall budget comes in right now at about $60 million dollars, but roughly half of that is Fairhope Utility’s portion.  The discrepancy lies in the city’s portion which shows a four million dollar increase over last year’s budget.

“One of the things I mentioned in the meeting is a twenty six million dollar revenue with a nearly thirty million dollar expense and just so trying to get your mind around that four million, what appears to be a four million dollar deficit,” said Fairhope city councilman and president pro-tem, Jay Robinson.

Wilson said what she presented is a strategic budget that allowed for department heads to put items in to be decided upon later.  Personnel and capital purchases make up the majority of the four million dollar discrepancy.  Wilson said purchasing or leasing new vehicles and equipment will cut back on the million-plus dollars the city spends on maintenance annually.  She also said there will be many ways to make up money through personnel.

“Sometimes it’s in overtime.  Sometimes it’s in things we’re contracting out, but most importantly, you can’t put a dollar amount on inefficiency and we are unfortunately, because of our short staff, we are running things very inefficiently,” Wilson explained.

Wilson said the city has the same number of employees as it did in 2010 while the population has grown by 28 percent in the same amount of time.  Robinson said the mayor’s asking for a lot of trust and a leap of faith in order for the council to accept her proposed budget.

“There’s a lot of expected or hoped cost savings that are…if we spend this money we’re going to save that and just looking at the raw numbers, you’re looking at almost a four million dollar increase in expenses without an increase in revenue,” Robinson said.

Mayor Wilson doesn’t look at the discrepancy the same way.

“This small difference in the scope of an over sixty million dollar budget is just that…small,” Wilson said.

Some headway was made Wednesday.  By the end of the meeting, about $1.2 million dollars in savings was brought to the table through personnel changes.  The council hopes to hash out a few more details and have the budget passed by the end of the year.
 

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