The Star City approves operating budget

STAR CITY — The Star City City Council on Monday unanimously approved an operating budget for 2013 that includes $2,2270,677 in anticipated revenue for all city departments and $2,161,730 in total expenses. The income projection is about $100,000 less than last year’s figure because Mayor Gene Yarbrough said he wanted to be conservative in the projections in case revenues are down, but he doesn’t expect that to be the case.

“We put the income down because I wasn’t sure how it was going to do,” said Yarbrough. “It is basically the same except we lowered the income. And the whole thing is, if the income does go up we’re happy; we’re not disappointed. I believe it’s going to be up. The last two months our money has come back up; it was down for a while.”

The budget projects spending $778,700 from the General Fund, which is a $5,100 increase from last year, and spending $304,400 from the Street Fund, which is a $10,200 increase from 2012.

The General Fund’s top anticipated revenue generating items are sales tax at $410,000, a $10,000 decrease from 2012, and the franchise tax at $100,000, which is $60,000 less than 2012’s number. The city also expects to collect $55,000 in fines ($10,000 less than last year), $45,000 in state turnback funds ($20,000 smaller than 2012’s projection), $40,000 in county turnback money, and $50,000 in county sales tax revenue.

As always, the biggest expenses for the General Fund are salaries, with the police payroll at $185,000, $5,000 more than last year, and administrative salaries at $200,000, also an increase of $5,000 over 2012.

The budget also projects $334,700 in income from the water department (with $29,200 in projected net income after expenses), $310,100 in revenue from the sewer department (with $8,600 in projected net income after expenses), and $290,000 in receipts from the sanitation department (and $15,500 in projected net income after expenses).

In another matter, the council unanimously approved an ordinance granting bonuses to all elected officials and city employees. Each person receiving a paycheck from the city will get a $50 plus $5 for every year of service as of Dec. 31, 2012.

The council also met in executive session for about 20 minutes. After reconvening, the council took no action but announced that the annual ordinance setting the salaries of the mayor, recorder-treasurer, district judge and city attorney will be considered at next month’s meeting. However, Yarbrough said that this year there will be no 3-percent increase as there has been for the past several years for elected officials or salaried personnel. The only raises will be for hourly-paid workers such as police officers and city laborers, which, as a matter of employment policy, automatically receive pay-raises incrementally according to the number of years they have been employed by the city.

In another matter, Economic Development Coordinator Dwayne Snyder said the city has applied for a $22,700 recycling grant. Snyder said the city is considering buying a “truck with a grabber arm” for picking up limbs and larger items and possibly buying a pickup truck.