Citizens seek balanced city FYE12 budget

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dear editor, The Times,

The City Council of Demopolis is currently debating over the proposed budget for the October 2011 – September 2012 fiscal year. We have obtained a copy of this proposed budget as well as the prior years to 2007. After reviewing these budgets (actual, proposed and projected) we have many concerns over the financial stability and direction of our city.

The city is projected (actual figures for August and September are not finished) to exceed its budget from the 2010-11 fiscal year by 4.64 percent or $475,000. This deficit can only be paid out of city reserves. These reserves have been accumulated over many years to ensure the city can continue to operate efficiently under revenue shortages. The economy is not strong now but we are not in drastic times. The city council needs to work hard to alleviate the problems that caused this deficit.

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The proposed budget has a misleading surplus of $1.1 million. The revenue section of this budget shows transferring $1.4 million out of reserves to use as revenue. If you remove that transfer the proposed budget has a deficit of $256,678. With the deficits of last year it would mean $730,000 in deficits covered by our reserves in two years. We can only hope the city does not over spend at the same rate as last year. If they do, another 4.64 percent would increase the draining of our reserves to $1.2 million over two years.

The consequences of draining the reserves may not only hurt us if we enter drastic times and need the money, but it also hinders our ability to borrow money for capital expenditures. The city has had no trouble in the past obtaining bond financing. This ability to borrow is based on the city’s financial strength and reserves are a big part of that stability.

We ask that the council work very hard to balance the city’s budget and hold our reserves for drastic measures or extraordinary needs. We encourage all concerned citizens of Demopolis to contact your council representative and express your concerns as well.

Concerned Citizens

John Cox Webb Claud Neilson

Bobby Moorer Jay Reynolds

Skip Fields Tom Culpepper

Webb Tutt Ronnie Willingham

Louise W Reynolds Ronnie Jennings

Alex Braswell