Marion council to set priorities
Marion city council reviewed budget requests, heard department heads tell which expenses they expect to go up or down, and asked questions whether there are other ways to fund department heads’ wishes Monday.
Council member Ruth Herbel questioned 2% salary increases included in the budget. Mayor David Mayfield told Herbel the proposed 2% increases were only a minimal part of the budget.
Herbel asked whether the fire department could seek grants to defray equipment costs.
Fire chief Preston Williams said he would check.
Council members set no budget priorities. That discussion will be taken up Monday.
City administrator Roger Holter said the city would have to seek approval of taxpayers to be able to grant all department heads’ requests.
Marion department heads are asking for $97,231 more, which if applied to property tax rates at current assessment levels would translate to a 9.52 mill increase for general fund items.
Utility fund budget items are estimated at $57,102 less, but when water line debt service payments begin Aug. 1, the result will be a $16.67 per household monthly increase.
The city’s capital improvement budget is estimated at $4,399,817, with five projects to be completed. It is the third-largest capital improvement budget in recent history.
Altogether, the budget wish list comes to comes to $10.8 million, $300,000 more than the city was authorized to spend this year.
“Our situation is just like everybody else’s situation,” Mayfield said. “We’re down on revenue and we’re looking at where we need to cut and where we don’t need to cut.”
Holter also said the current year’s spending needed to be reconsidered.
“We would start out $137,000 in the hole for next year,” Holter said. “We can’t do that.”