SYLACAUGA -- The City Council got its first look at the proposed budget for 2017 and started crunching numbers during a called work session Wednesday afternoon.
Mayor Doug Murphree, along with City Clerk Patricia Carden and accounting specialist Yourlanda Burns, spoke to council members at the work session.
Murphree said the proposed budget level funds each department and contract agency.
“Everything is as it was last year,” he said.
The proposed General Fund budget has a surplus of $9,000, compared to last year’s surplus of $487.
The city faces another increase in employee insurance to the tune of $9,436. The 2016 budget, which wasn’t passed until Feb. 3 of this year, also had insurance cost increases, but much more than the 2017 budget. The 2016 increase was $68 for single employees and an additional $139 for the family portion.
A decision was made Feb. 3 to absorb the entire increase for this year, but future increases may not be taken over by the city, council President Rocky Lucas said in a work session prior to the budget approval.
The proposed 2017 budget calls for an $18 a month increase for single employees and $27 for families. Council members Wednesday did not discuss whether the city would absorb the new increase.
Lucas said insurance costs had increased 15 percent for the city over this two-year period.
Lucas and Councilmen Joe Hogan and Tom Roberts were present for the work session along with Murphree.
Murphree requested the council consider increasing the Talladega County Drug Task Force funding to $75,000. The task force has sought an $84,000 allocation, compared to the $60,000 it received in the 2016 budget.
The mayor also wants the council to put some more funds in the library and parks and recreation budgets for possible raises and insurance costs. He said those departments do not have a system of step raises like others within the city do.
Lucas agreed with that, saying they are city departments and need to be considered for some form of increases.
“The mayor is right. They don’t have step raises like our other departments, which do get raises,” Lucas said.
Burns pointed out the city’s revenue was down, but it was due to grant funds being transferred in and out of the budget. Total revenue is down by $500,000 because of grants and transfers, Lucas said.
Also down in the proposed budget is court fines, Burns said. She said there were no capital requests in the 2017 budget other than $73,000 for police car leases.
Lucas encouraged the council to look the budget over.
“We will go to work on actual line items in our next work session on the budget,” he said.
The next budget work session is Monday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall.