In preparation for these items, Wilson prepared a Budget Document and Budget Message for FY 2013. In that message, Wilson stated that the move from the formerly recommended ten / fifteen budget, to the ten / ten “was a reduction in the budget of $1,290,000. ” He also noted that $690,000 in sales tax was not budgeted. That was revenue that was received from utilities and was paid as sales tax, but was not in the budget. Wilson expressed concern about the ten percent utility increase because he has said many times, the “ten percent is not sustainable and does not improve financial stability.” He said, “It is strongly recommended that revenues increase 15 percent with the possibility of further increase in FY 2014.”
The “utility revenues,” Wilson stated, “are intended to cover (1) operating and maintenance costs, (2) debt service, (3) future capital needs, (4) replacement costs, (5) internal transfers between funds, (6) maintaining fund balances. A ten percent utility increase does not sufficiently address all six areas. It should be expected that utility revenue increases will be requested in next fiscal year.”
The General Fund and AMA needed an additional $1,381,500 to finish out FY 2012. Those funds had to come from somewhere. They came from the City’s Emergency Stabilization Fund ($1,037,300) and the Capital Improvement Fund ($344,200). These were hard-earned dollars and the trustees did not take the situation lightly when they had to pay the City’s bills. These expenses were detailed by Wilson, showing point-by-point where the bills came from and how much each one cost. They included the Severance Pay Out ($114,000), the claims and payroll ($630,000), the Workers Comp Transfer ($120,000) and others including open purchase orders ($294,000).
The Emergency Stabilization Fund will be reimbursed as soon as possible by funds saved through the hiring freeze. Thirty-five positions will be vacated by July 1, with six of those employees being replaced. For more details on this see the Altus Times tomorrow.