Temporary budget to be considered

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 19, 2003

Now that December is here, it is once again that special time of the year. Not Christmas, but time for city officials to start the budgeting process.

The Ironton Finance Committee took the first steps Thursday by recommending to the city council final changes to the 2003 budget and a temporary 2004 budget that must be adopted by Jan. 1.

The final 2004 budget must be adopted by March 1.

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"I am pleased with the first quarter's temporary budget," Mayor John Elam said. "It will (allow) the finance committee and the council as a whole to work closely with the city to develop a workable budget that will see us through 2004. My goal is for the city to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible."

City Finance Director Cindy Anderson prepared the rough draft that does not include any revenues. The draft only outlines expenditures for the first three months based on last year's operating expenses.

No salary or insurance increases were factored in but fuel and utility increases were included, Anderson said. Workers compensation was also not a factor because the payment is not due until May 1.

Developing a temporary budget is not as simple as just taking one-fourth of the total budget because the city has several expenses that occur only during the first quarter of each year because of maintenance contracts on various pieces of equipment, Anderson said.

Committee member Richard Price included in the recommendation of the budget a stipulation stating that it will not be recommended if the health department does not submit its budget certifications for 2004.

There was much debate earlier this year because the health department was over budget and required additional transfers to finish the year.

Committee Chairman Brent Pyles agreed that it would be interesting to see what changes are proposed within the health department so that a similar problem is avoided.

"As we get into the discussions of the permanent budget, this will become even more important to understand," Pyles said.

The committee also recommended changes to the 2003 budget.

The minor changes are expected to be the last of the year and are just part of the normal year-end bookkeeping, Anderson said.

The finance director projected that the carryover balance will be a minimum of $670,000, and will most likely be $70,000 to $100,000 more.

Originally, the 2003 projected carryover was approximately $500,000 but a higher than anticipated estate tax and overestimation in budgeting are responsible for the increase, she said.