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Grayson talks budget at town hall

The Demopolis budget was a significant part of Mayor Mike Grayson’s town hall meeting Wednesday night.

Grayson spent part of the 90 minute session assuring the small gathered crowd that the city was in good financial standing.

“We’re not broke,” he said. “Far from it.”

He noted the city used more than $480,000 in reserve funding this year toward unexpected needs. Those expenses included, among the big-ticket items, a one-time holiday pay adjustment for the city’s employees ($91,000), the purchase of a street sweeper ($108,000) and financial support of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s labor and delivery unit ($100,000).

Grayson further noted that the council had socked away more than $600,000 the previous two years.

The city council has spent its past three wrangling over this fiscal year’s budget, seeking possible expense reductions. Suggestions have included a reduction of a paving project, the postponement of fire station renovations, the postponement of a one-time holiday pay adjustment this year and the elimination of a $125,000 reimbursement to the hospital, which is put toward indigent care.

Those suggestions will be picked back up tonight for debate when the council reconvenes at 5:15 in Rooster Hall.

Grayson acknowledged the need for the city to seek cuts wherever reasonable but disagreed with eliminating the reimbursement to the hospital.

“I think we need to look at everything,” Grayson said of potential expense cuts, “but I think it would be very short-sighted to redirect those monies.”