By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Pulaski Town Council got its first glimpse at the town’s draft $12.9 million 2013-14 fiscal year budget Tuesday night.
“The good news is all three funds (general, water and sewer) are in the black at this point,” Town Manager John Hawley said. “If you look, though, there are some fairly severe cuts in there. I think department heads and staff have done an unbelievable job getting a budget that’s in the black at this point in time.”
Hawley said the proposed budget doesn’t include any salary increases, but does include a 16.7 percent increase in health insurance premiums, which the town will cover as an employee benefit.
The current draft reflects $86,877 more in revenues ($12,973,103) than expenditures ($12,886,226). However, Hawley pointed out many figures needed to determine true revenues will not be available until spring or after the General Assembly adjourns.
Hawley pointed out the draft includes a 6 percent reduction in total contributions (to agencies and nonprofits) and no capital improvements (CIP) except previously committed purchase/lease agreements, town-wide computer servers, electronic tablets for town council and the mayor, and propane conversions for Pulaski Area Transit buses.
Councilman Greg East said he would just as soon see the tablets removed from the budget.
The draft also assumes Pulaski County will again agree to partially fund Pulaski Senior Center at the same level at 2012-13 ($21,000).
Plus, the current proposal funds the majority of the Economic Development Department from the General Fund since the prior funding source (Urban Development Action Grant) is running out.
Council decided to hold its first budget work session Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. in the engineering meeting room behind council chambers.
“I think we need to get started as soon as we can,” Vice Mayor Joseph Goodman said. “If there are some serious cuts in here I have a feeling there are going to be some extended conversations with some of the staff, explaining what the impact is going to be to operations. We need to give them the opportunity to speak to those cuts.”