Hogansville to operate with tight budget in 2018-2019

Published 5:14 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HOGANSVILLE – The Hogansville City Council reviewed the city financial statement from the month of February and got its first look at the tentative 2018-19 general operating budget during its Monday night council meeting.

During the discussion on next year’s budget, City Manager David Milliron expressed to the council the year ahead will be one of the more challenging years in recent memory for the city.

“This will be probably the tightest year the city has seen in some time,” Milliron said on Monday night, when discussing the upcoming 2018-19 budget.

Prior to that conversation, however, it was revealed in reviewing February’s financial statement that the city’s year-to-date revenue at the end of February was $1,565,028, hitting incredibly close to the budgeted mark of $1,565,268. Expenses for the city through February, however, were $1,733,191. As such, the city was operating at a net loss of $168,163 for the fiscal year prior to March.

Electric, gas and sewer funds all reported net positive year-to-date revenue, while water and sanitation are operating in the negative.

All five funds are outperforming budgeted expectations to this point.

After poring through current financial results, the city council turned their collective attention to the future, getting the first glimpse of what will be one of the leanest budgets the city of Hogansville has seen in some time.

“There are extremely tough decisions coming,” Milliron said during the budget discussion. “The reality is that sufficient revenue necessary to meet the needs and requirements of the general, capital and enterprise funds continues to be problematic. We have some collective work to do.”

While the city of Hogansville has some belt-tightening to do, the tentative budget does call for a 2.3 percent increase from last year, moving from $10,215,301 to $10,450,970. The reason for this increase is due to federal grant money coming to the city.

“Federal grant money guarantees your budget will increase,” Milliron said.

“If the newspaper wanted to say we proposed a 2.3 percent increase, they’d be accurate, but they would also be, at the same time, very wrong.”

Highlights from the new budget include the exclusion of all overtime dollars outside of overtime associated with public safety, an assumed 10 percent increase in electric rates across the board and 5 percent increases in sanitation, water, wastewater and natural gas.

The city council will take time to review the proposed budget and will have continued conversations in the coming months prior to adoption of the budget.

“The goal is to tighten our belts as much as we can,” Milliron said.

Other business from the city council meeting on Monday night included:

4The recognition of Thomas Messer, Communications Supervisor for the Hogansville Police Department, for 15 years of service to the community with the department.

“Thomas is the one who ensures everyone is on schedule and on point when the calls come in,” Hogansville Police Chief Brian Harr said during the meeting. “Our communications personnel are the tip of the spear we have. Thomas keeps us in line, we’d be hard pressed to be without him.”

4 An information-only discussion on a right-of-way ordinance the city hopes to create. As of now, utility companies can come freely into the city to perform right-of-way maintenance work without any permit or authorization of the city.

The creation of such an ordinance would allow the city to require utility companies to go through a permit process prior to completing any such maintenance.

4 A discussion related to the potential dedication of the soon-to-be completed basketball courts at Green Avenue Park.

Mayor Bill Stankiewicz brought forth a request to the city council of naming the basketball courts in honor of the late Frances Robinson, who passed away at the age of 99 after living the majority of her life in Hogansville.

“She was a fixture, I can tell you, for many years in Hogansville,” Stankiewicz said.

“The reason I thought it might be appropriate for naming this basketball court in her honor is that Ms. Robinson played basketball for the United States Army during the Second World War.”

Theresa Strickland and Reginald Jackson, in particular, voiced concern for this dedication.

“This is not anything against Ms. Frances Robinson personally, but I have concerns about us naming anything after anyone at this point,” Strickland said. “I think it would be more appropriate to do a proclamation, or a key to the city, if that qualifies.”

“I think it would be more fitting to associate her with something she had a passion for,” Jackson said.

“In Hogansville, we have a coach that won four state championships in five years. We don’t have his name on anything.”

The discussion was tabled until the next council meeting.