By REID TUCKER
Year-to-date figures show that the city of Paxton made a $62,385.80 profit on the general fund front during Fiscal Year 2012, bringing in approximately 17 percent more in revenues than was projected this time last year.
This information, along with line-itemized and finalized versions of the proposed FY2013 general fund and water and sewer fund budgets, was presented to the Paxton Town Council at a special meeting held Friday, Sept. 28. The Council voted unanimously to adopt the proposed budgets and to approve over-expenditures in each department.
The general fund budget, effective immediately following the meeting, comes in $390,154, with projected expenditures equaling projected revenues. That figure represents a $25,700 increase over the previous fiscal year’s budgeted amounts, or 7 percent more in either case. Moreover, and also working in the city’s favor, year-to-date expenditures for FY2012 were down to the tune of $2,141.70 versus the projected amount.
The biggest part of the increase on the revenue side of the general fund budget comes from a $20,000 jump on the 1-cent surtax for garbage collection, which is projected to go up from $50,000 to $70,000 for this fiscal year.
As the general fund’s expenditures go, it is the personal services section that has the biggest increase, as that number grows almost 41 percent from $74,600 to $104,800. The majority of that increase is due to $30,000 more being paid in salaries ($55,000 in FY2012 versus $85,000 in FY2013, with a 3-percent cost of living allowance included). The reason for the uptick is that half of Billing Clerk Judy Williams’ salary and all of Water and Sewer Department Foreman Frank Burlison’s salary was transferred from their respective departments’ budgets to the general fund for the purpose of ensuring that water and sewer break even on the year.
No other area of the general fund’s expenditures increases by more than $2,000, while some expenditures, such as park electricity, are projected to decrease by as much as $3,000 compared to the previous fiscal year. This has the effect that the total operating budget decreases from $262,600 to $255,354 from FY2012 to FY2013. The contingency fund is also down to an even $20,000 from $22,254 last fiscal year.
The FY2013 water fund budget and sewer fund budgets were similarly balanced and both numbers are less than those in previous fiscal year, with total water fund expenses and income totaling $240,800 and $115,377 for the sewer fund. Water revenues are down $3,000 and expenditures, which include miscellaneous expenditures, a $9.077 transfer to the sewer fund among them, are down $2,000 despite a $8,117 hike in operating expenses due to increases in supply costs. The sewer fund’s projected revenues are also down $2,000 from last fiscal year, with projected sewer sales holding steady at $105,000 since FY2011, and the fund’s total expenses are $2,400 less than last year’s project amount.
Over-expenditures in each of the three departments in light of year-to-date figures were addressed prior to the Council’s vote to adopt the proposed budgets. Total overages from last year’s general fund budget came in at $41,690.51, with the biggest being a $25,399 infrastructure upgrade and a $9,770.45 expense for a multi-purpose ground penetrating radar device used to locate buried water, sewer and electric lines.
Last fiscal year’s water fund budget had over-expenditures in several areas including salaries (up by a shade more than $10,000 in due to overtime payroll necessitated by the aforementioned water system upgrade and preparation for hurricane season), and lab testing (up $4,195 due to additional testing required by the state on a nine-year revolving cycle). One-time water bill waivers accounted for $1,492.25 of the FY2012 water fund’s over-expenditures.
FY2012’s sewer fund budget’s actual sales number of $93,516 fell short of the $105,000 projected revenue, but the transfer in of $11,477 from the water fund budget covered the difference. Over-expenditures in the previous sewer budget were dominated by a $7,879 overage in insurance costs, but this reflects only an accidental overpayment on the city’s part that will be either credited or refunded by the city’s insurance provider.
The only item on the brief agenda at the special meeting that did not meet with unanimous approval was one that met with a unanimous vote against raising the water rate to customers by 3 percent as was done with the sewer rate last year. Transfers from one department to the other have thus far been capable of covering for shortfalls and the city has not failed to meet its required payments, thus it was the wish of the Council members not to raise the water rate until absolutely necessary.