Council adopts temporary budget

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Even though the Ironton City Council adopted a temporary budget Tuesday, everyone agreed that the real number crunching is just beginning.

The city is required by law to have a temporary 2004 budget in place by Jan. 1. The rough draft does not include any revenues and only outlines expenditures for the first three months, based on last year's operating expenses.

A finalized budget must be adopted by March 31.

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"This is just a temporary budget to get us through the beginning of the year," Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman Brent Pyles said. "We have six more council meetings between now and the end of March and I will do what I can to facilitate the process. This is a temporary tool, but we have a lot of work ahead of us in a short period of time."

Though he was pleased to see this stage of the process completed, Mayor John Elam echoed Pyles' sentiments.

"The temporary budget will enable us to continue operations for the city. It provides expenses for the first quarter of calendar year 2004," he said. "Now is when the work is going to begin. We must make sure we are going to operate the city in the best, most efficient manner."

Salary and insurance increases were not factored into the draft, but fuel and utility increases were estimated, City Finance Director Cindy Anderson said earlier this month.

Worker's compensation rates were not considered because the payment is not due until May 1.

Because the city has several expenses that occur only during the first quarter of each year to pay for maintenance contracts on city equipment, developing a temporary budget is not as simple as taking one-quarter of the total budget, Anderson said.

Council also unanimously approved the final changes to the 2003 budget that will allow Anderson to close out the books for the year just in time for the budgeting process.

According to the final revisions, Anderson projected that the carryover balance will be at $671,532.

It may be $70,000 to $100,000 higher, she said earlier this month. Originally, the projected carryover for 2003 was approximately $500,000, but a larger than anticipated estate tax and over estimation in budgeting helped increase the carryover.