City works to hammer out 2009 budget

By Cody Holyoke - bio | email

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- In the midst of a stumbling economy the City of Montgomery scrambled to square away its budget.

"The biggest issue is that we don't have enough money," exclaimed Councilor Martha Roby.

Mayor Bobby Bright's proposed budget is a little more than $227 million.

Some of that, however, comes from the city's reserve fund--an account council members initially wanted to leave alone.

"That is too much to use, considering how the economy is as flat as it is," said Councilman Willie Cook.

How do you make up for an economic downturn?

The council considered several ideas--from charging for security at sporting events instead of eating the cost to either reducing garbage pickup days or increasing fees.

When the work session concluded, many City Council members had made up their minds, pledging to use some of the reserve fund--but to pay it back with a number of revenue streams.

That includes a four dollar per month price hike for garbage pickups that alone would generate more than $3 million.

"This is a small thing to ask for the people to do that will help 75 families stay with a job," explained Charles Jinright, the City Council's president.

Though the increases could help the budget mess, some members say it would add yet another burden for residents throughout the Capital City.

"I don't think that while our economy is struggling the way that it is that our government go ahead and make itself bigger," Roby said.