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Statham to rework budget to cover $159,000 of expenses

POSTED: June 4, 2014 1:00 p.m.

The city of Statham is around $159,000 short of having a balanced budget for the upcoming year.

City leaders will hold another budget workshop June 12 as they have to come up with $159,000 through a combination of more revenue and cuts. City officials discovered Tuesday that the expenses for the garbage fund were not lining up correctly in the latest budget draft.

The city has had some coding issues with its financial software since it switched to a new company in the past year.

City leaders and staff said Tuesday they will analyze the garbage fund to make sure the billing is correct. The city has recently resolved coding problems with the water and sewer funds that were caused by changing to an accrual based financing.

Mayor Robert Bridges asked officials to think about hiring a city manager.

"I think (it would help) with some of the problems if we had someone to really stay behind it," he said.

The latest projections are that by the end of this fiscal year Statham will have paid $159,000 to Waste Management for garbage collection. The city was projected to recoup around $150,000, but those figures will have to be examined more tightly.

Following Tuesday’s budget workshop the updated budget draft included $2.21 million in projected revenue and $2.3 million in expenses. Statham officials are aiming to have a June 17 public hearing on their budget and have it approved at a June 24 special called meeting.

Councilman Perry Barton suggested increasing projected revenue in some areas where they had budgeted conservatively.

"We’re going to have to find some way to tighten the belt to accommodate that $159,000," he said.

Tuesday’s workshop included discussion about being more vigilant with collecting late taxes and bills. For instance, the city is still owed $86,000 in property taxes dating back to 2006.

"There may be a significant benefit to collections because that may offset some of the ($159,000) we’re looking for," Police Chief Steve Martin said.

Martin said that by cutting out part-time officers, proposed pay raises and not purchasing new vehicles that his department could save $85,000 for the year. That, however, would reduce the number of officers that can work on a shift.

Some city officials balked at making that many cuts in the police department.

 

"We may have to cut budgets but I think it’s going to have to be across the board with every department," Councilwoman Gayle Steed said.

 

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