HOBSON CITY — Town leaders on Monday night approved a $356,000 budget for the fiscal year that started this month.
Salaries for the town’s small staff, professional services, utility bills, insurance and the annual fee paid for Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office patrols make up most of Hobson City’s general fund expenses, which amount to $244,357 according to the spending plan. It was approved unanimously during a Town Council meeting Monday night, though officials offered few chances for public scrutiny of the document.
The town’s general fund revenue — money raised from fees, taxes, and rentals — is projected to be $166,580. That leaves an estimated deficit of $77,777.
Mayor Alberta McCrory said after the council’s meeting that the deficit would be covered by money from other accounts — the town’s Water & Sewer Fund, for example, which projects a $128,283 surplus.
Other accounts pay for other town services, such as garbage pickup, street upkeep, a senior center and the public library.
The spending plan should guide town government for the next fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2018, though McCrory said some tweaks might be made.
“Anything can be amended,” she told council members.
Councilwoman Deneva Barnes asked that she and other members get a quarterly update on how closely Hobson City sticks to the budget. McCrory said such updates might happen once the town’s clerk, Pauline Cunningham, is more familiar with drafting budget documents.
Council members had few other questions about the budget. After its passage, they heard a proposal from Councilman Freddie Striplin to use the money now spent on patrols from Calhoun County Sheriff’s deputies — $18,000 per year — on a police officer of Hobson City’s own.
No action was taken on that proposal, but McCrory encouraged Striplin to continue working on it.
Much of Monday’s meeting was spent discussing repairs made to a piece of town equipment, though: a backhoe one council member said had been used for odd jobs around Hobson City, such as digging graves and patching roads.
The backhoe needed its oil changed and other repairs, too, but when Councilman O’Mildred Ball had it taken to Cowin Equipment, the bill for everything was estimated at more than $6,000.
McCrory said the town didn’t have that kind of money, and wanted to pick and choose which repairs were absolutely necessary — only, work somehow began on the machine before she and Town Council members could do the picking.
So, on Monday, those members agreed to pay $2,749 for the work on the machine, though it wasn’t the work they wanted. The sum will have to be made in payments, McCrory said.
She also asked for and received approval from the Town Council of repairs already made to a garbage truck, though the total cost isn’t yet known. The truck’s brakes went out last week, she said, and it needed to be repaired immediately. McCrory hadn’t yet received a bill for those repairs, though.
Staff Writer Zach Tyler: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @ZTyler_Star.