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City managers exceeding budgets

For the past five years, several of Demopolis’ department managers have put additional stress on thin bottom-lines, according to one city councilman.

All but two of the city’s 15 departments have operated over-budget for at least one of the past five years with the city’s fire and rescue department leading the way.

For each of the past five years the city’s fire department has exceeded its budget, the only city department to achieve such a feat.

However, Councilman Jack Cooley said there’s blood on everyone’s hands – with the exception of Building Official Junior Booker and the Public Works Department, headed by Mike Baker, who have each come in, at or under budget each year.

“I was amazed,” Cooley said of the revelation. “Over the past several years, these overages have been offset by surplus revenues but with the economy the way it is, you’ve got to tighten up.”

Horticulture, the public library, Jones Recreational Center and the Civic Center have each exceeded budget four of the past five years; General government, the welcome center and maintenance on public restrooms for three of the past five years; the police department, city hall and municipal court for two of the past five years and parks and recreation and animal control have exceeded their respective budgets for one year each.

Cooley presented each department head with the findings, asking for answers the by next council meeting.

“We can’t operate like this,” he said. “It can’t continue. For some departments, this may be one-time, or emergency-type purchases that have pushed them over budget. That’s what I want to know; what’s causing the problem.”