City okays budget

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Demopolis City Council approved a budget Monday night, ending a process that has dragged on for more than three months.

The council elected to amend a budget that called for a more than $400,000 shortfall by trimming, eliminating or changing several line items.

The most significant change will be the removal of approximately $145,000 in paving and infrastructure projects.

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A water project set for Lem Wilson Road has been shifted to the Demopolis Water Board and will come at no expense to the city.

The paving of Sunset Road, one of the most hotly debated expense items on the budget, will be done using all the funds available in the city’s gas tax fund, a $50,000 infusion in capital expediter funding and an additional draw, likely from additional gas tax funds next year.

In all, the project is expected to cost upwards of $289,000.

The council also voted a one-time pay adjustment for all city employees in the amount of $500. This figure is half of what the employees received last year and was marked for elimination in budget revision sessions.

Among the other items were reductions in the council, mayor, fire and police department travel expenses – a reduction of $22,000 collectively.

Mayor Mike Grayson said the cumulative total still puts the city an an operating loss of approximately $44,000 but noted he would challenge his department heads to keep the city at least even when the tally is made at the end of the fiscal year.

“We’re not going to lose money,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

Grayson said this budget did not include an infusion from the city’s reserves but noted one could be needed if the budgeted deficit couldn’t be righted as soon as he hoped.