|Written by Staff Reporter|
|Wednesday, 11 June 2008 13:09|
The Town of Clarkdale moves in to Fiscal Year 2008-09 skating a thin line between balanced and disaster due to the ongoing decline of the economy as experienced through falling home prices, rising fuel costs and the uncertainty of stable employment.
The general fund budgeted for FY 2007-08 was $3.6 million, but the projected total revenue come June 30 will only be $2.78 million. The amount budgeted to be spent in FY 2008-09 is $3 million, with a projected income of $3 million for the town.
Clarkdale Town Manager Gayle Mabery said the only way the town made it to the end of the current fiscal year was by initiating cuts in October 2007, focusing on reducing utility costs, cutting back on trips and training outside of Clarkdale, and initiating a hiring “freeze” by not filling nine currently open positions.
The cuts that will take place upon approval of the budget will be:
Severe cutbacks on vehicle usage to reduce the cost of gas with employees carpooling to complete projects as opposed to taking separate vehicles;
Cost of Living Adjustment and merit raises will be suspended;
Any vacancies in positions which occur through either resignation or termination will be frozen, unless the council gives a direct authorization to hire for the position, effectively “riffing” [reduction in force];
$83,000 in capital projects expenditures will not be made, and renovation of the Selna Ballfield, putting in signage for the ballfied, completion of the Phase II of the Dorothy Benatz Trail and painting and patching the Clark Memorial Clubhouse will not be completed;
A new police vehicle will not be purchased and there will be no improvements to the Town Hall;
There will be no budgeting for savings;
The police department will reduce overtime by 50 percent;
The Town Council decided not to increase sales tax at this time, but recognized the need to keep the option of a sales tax hike on the table for the coming year, Mabery said.
If revenue is below the projected $3 million, Mabery reported, then the council will have to move forward on a number of cuts which could be:
Eliminating line-item funding for July-October 2008 Concerts in the Park. [Concerts would continue to be funded through an existing donation account of $3,000, but would not receive financial support from the Town];
Eliminating the “temporary” building that houses Public Works and Utilities, which would save an estimated $2,900 per month;
Reducing the transfer of local sales tax revenues from the general fund to the streets fund [the town currently transfers 40 percent; each five percent reduction in that transfer would place $40,000 back in the general fund];
The other revenue source that the town is eyeing warily is the state’s Highway User Revenue Fund, and the percentage the town receives could be cut as the legislature moves to finalize the state budget, Mabery said.
Mabery said that despite the cuts, the services to the public will continue.