City deficit was less than projected

Published 11:04 pm Friday, October 21, 2011

The City of Demopolis closed its fiscal year in better shape than what was earlier projected.

In August, year-end projections showed the city would close its 2010-2011 fiscal year nearly $475,000 in the red. That was far from the case when the final numbers were crunched.

While the city brought in nearly $200,000 less than budgeted revenue, the city came in with an approximate $100,000 deficit, using approximately $148,000 from city reserves.

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“I think what’s important is that the things we could control, we controlled,” Councilman Thomas Moore said. “Revenues, we can’t do much about. What we can control is how we spend our money.”

Actual expenses came in more than $80,000 under budget.

The council and its managers were faced with several un-budgeted items that drove a portion of the expenses.

Among the big-ticket expenses were an allocation of $100,000 to Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital in an effort to salvage the labor and delivery department, and $108,000 to purchase a street sweeper.

“The city spent $27,000 in utility expenses for the New Era plant,” Moore said. “It’s either pay the utilities and keep up the building or shut them off and let the building sit there and deteriorate.”

A one-time pay adjustment for the city employees totaled $91,000, helping the city’s Industrial Development Board secure a consultant for the Intermodal Complex cost $21,000 and additional site work totaled another $17,000.

“All of those decisions we made, the decisions to spend the money, were a decision any prudent businessman would have made,” Moore said. “They were all in the best interest, long-term, of the city.”