The 2014 budget projects a general fund balance of $263,000, which is slightly more than the previous year’s budget of $219,000.
The budget predicts the town will spend about $249,000, leaving the town with $14,000 in surplus. Last year’s budget predicted the town would spend $213,000, ending with $6,900 in surplus.
The reason for the increase in projected revenues is due largely to the opening of a bingo hall in town. I-20 Bingo opened at 1800 Martin Luther King Drive in March 2013, and the budget predicts the business will generate $26,000 in taxes and other fees for the town next year.
The $36,000 increase in expenditures compared to the previous year is largely due to the cost of paying the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department for regular patrols.
Dwindling revenues shuttered the town’s police department in 2007. Sheriff's Department deputies, under contract with the town, began patrolling Hobson City streets in May 2013.
The budget estimates the cost of paying for those patrols, and to pay for a certified water operator to test the town’s drinking water, will cost about $18,000 next year.
“And we’re trying to keep the city clean,” Mayor Alberta McCrory said. “We’ll spend a lot more trying to keep the city clean.”
The budget estimates the town’s street department will spend about $5,200, which is about $2,500 more than was spent last year to improve the town’s appearance, collect brush and other debris, and to keep the town cemetery clean, McCrory said.
The budget predicts the town will collect about $40,000 in occupational taxes, unchanged from last year’s budget.
Speaking of the budget, McCrory recalled a phrase often said by a radio DJ she knew years ago.
“We’ve got to keep moving in the right direction,” McCrory told council members.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.