City Council voted unanimously last week to adopt a final budget for 2011 which does not raise taxes, after eliminating what remained of a deficit that just a few months ago was projected to be as high as $510,000.


City Council voted unanimously last week to adopt a final budget for 2011 which does not raise taxes, after eliminating what remained of a deficit that just a few months ago was projected to be as high as $510,000.
The $4.8 million budget for 2011 keeps the city’s millage rate at 29.7 mills.  City Clerk Michele Bannon said one mill brings in about $37,000, and the average city resident pays between $400 and $500 annually in taxes.
Councilman John Gigliotti, who heads the finance committee, stated that city officials became aware of the potentially huge deficit in July.  He said they have been working since then to erase it.
“We doubled up on our finance committee meetings and took the time we needed to formulate some ideas and come up with ways of generating revenue,” he explained.  “I feel we gave it our best.”
Gigliotti noted that their deficit reduction plan included anticipated reimbursements, reductions in staffing, and the sale of some of the city’s real estate holdings and equipment.
He stated that while revenues in the 2011 budget remain about the same as they were in 2010, expenses will go up by nearly a quarter million dollars next year.  This increase in expenditures has contributed to the city’s deficit, he related.  Also, the police pension will rise by about $99,000 and the fire pension by about $10,000 over their 2010 costs.
On the bright side, he said the deficit has been dealt with, thanks to a combination of factors.
The city eventually received grant reimbursements for sewer and road work, and with an influx of additional monies that brought the projected deficit down to $41,000 — as shown in a proposed budget which was approved by council last month.
Mayor Justin Taylor said that remaining deficit of $41,000 has now been eliminated, but he told the council members at last week’s meeting that the city still has some unpaid bills.
He stated that a long-term plan for addressing structural problems in the city budget will be implemented over the next few months, allowing the city to catch up on those unpaid bills.  Taylor told the NEWS that this plan involves employee retirement incentives and a health insurance buy-out plan for city workers.
Gigliotti agreed, explaining, “We have a detailed plan in place, and we should see more revenues from these efforts.”