Hogansville council adopts 2018-2019 budget

Published 8:07 pm Thursday, June 28, 2018

HOGANSVILLE – The Hogansville City Council voted to adopt the fourth version of the proposed 2018-19 fiscal year budget during a special-called meeting on Wednesday evening. The budget, which will take effect beginning July 1, was adopted by a vote of 4-1, with city councilwoman Theresa Strickland voting against.

The city has budgeted to bring in and spend $11,342,734 in total revenue and expense across the city’s general fund, special revenue funds, debt service, capital project funds and enterprise funds. 

The council first saw the comprehensive budget during its May 21 meeting. Since then, the council has had time to review, ask questions and request changes to the original document. The budget was not adopted during the city council’s scheduled meeting on June 21, which was set with that purpose in mind. As such, the council met Wednesday in hopes of adopting a finalized version for the upcoming fiscal year. During Wednesday’s discussion, one prevailing question that remained dealt with whether or not certain government employees could and should be moved from non-exempt to exempt employees. Non-exempt employees must be paid overtime wages for all hours worked over 40 in a given week, while exempt employees do not receive overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week.

“I’m not comfortable with this situation. I think we need to do more research as a council into these job descriptions and pay scale,” Strickland said during the meeting. “I’m not satisfied at this point with moving these hourly folks to salaried positions and with job descriptions. I think we have to look at all of that as a council.”

Moving certain employees to exempt status would reduce the city’s overall expense, as the city spent approximately $31,000 on overtime during the most recent fiscal year that the city would not have to spend moving forward. However, questions remained as to whether or not the move was the correct one for the city.

“The reality is everything is getting cut,” city manager David Milliron said. “Throughout the year, the council’s direction was to make sure we looked at overtime and reigned it in.”

Because the budget was adopted, the proposed employee changes will be adopted moving forward.

Per the adopted budget, the city’s general fund, the main funding arm of the government, will operate at a deficit of $1,020,438 for the upcoming year. To properly balance the budget and assure the city does not operate at a loss, capital project funds and enterprise funds will cover that deficit.  Enterprise funds will see more revenue in the upcoming year, as the city council voted on June 21 to raise water, wastewater and a portion of electric rates. Total revenue from the water enterprise fund is budgeted at $1,032,319 for the upcoming year, which is a 58 percent increase from last year. Needed and necessary expenses to the water account, including $500,000 worth of expense for water tank maintenance and repair and service line replacements, will still see that specific enterprise fund operating at a budgeted loss of $394,856.

Budgeted wastewater revenue has also nearly doubled, due to recent rate increases, from $603,000 to $1,125,460. The wastewater enterprise fund is budgeted to turn a profit of more than $1 million this year, nearly doubling the profit of the fund for any year since 2012-13.

Now that the budget has been approved, the next steps will be to send the document to the state’s Tax and Expenditure Data site, which is required by law, as well as the city’s website before staff begins to key in new budget numbers into the city’s financial modules moving into the new fiscal year.