Surgoinsville delays approval of 2013-14 budget in order to address deficit

Jeff Bobo • Jun 10, 2013 at 11:53 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — The Surgoinsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen still has a deficit to deal with on its proposed 2013-14 budget, and if town employees receive raises this year that deficit is $35,000 instead of $27,000.

Last month the BMA approved the first of two required readings of the town’s proposed $1.297 million 2013-14 fiscal year budget, although there was an $87,000 deficit that had to be dealt with at the time.

Although that shortfall had been whittled down significantly by Tuesday’s meeting, the BMA agreed that the proposed budget still needs some work before the second and final reading can be approved.

Tuesday’s meeting was recessed and will reconvene June 25 at 7 p.m., at which time the second and final reading of the budget is expected to receive a vote.

A budget workshop was also scheduled for Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m.

Mayor Johnny Greer said Tuesday the general fund budget deficit is currently down to $12,000 if the BMA doesn’t give town employees a proposed 3 percent pay increase.

That pay increase would cost approximately $8,000, bringing the total deficit up to $20,000.

Greer noted that with Surgoinsville’s sewer system project progressing, he anticipates having to hire a sewer operator for about half of the 2013-14 fiscal year.

It would be a one-time expenditure because in the future the sewer manager’s salary would be paid from grant and/or sewer revenue funds.

The cost of covering a half-year’s salary for the sewer operator is estimated at $15,000, which would bring the 2013-14 budget deficit up to $35,000.

Greer noted, however, that there will be no property tax increase in 2013-14 and that the BMA will resolve the current deficit with available revenue.

In other business Tuesday the BMA:

• Heard a report from Police Chief Jeff Hesoun that he had recently received new equipment via a Homeland Security grant including a thermal imaging camera, three night vision apparatuses, and a GPS (global positioning system) for each patrol car.

• Heard a report from Vice Mayor Merrill Graham, who also chairs the Riverfront Festival Committee, that the town’s next festival will be the Fireman’s Ice Cream Supper to be held June 29 from 3-9 p.m. at the Riverfront Park. Graham said more details will be released closer to the event date.

• Heard a report from Alderman Bobby Jarnigan that there is an effort being launched to form a local senior center, which would hopefully use some resources left over from the inactive local Ruritan Club including kitchen equipment and the location between the town’s middle and elementary schools.

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