Jul 122013

By Linda Kor
The Holbrook City Council met in a special session Tuesday and approved a tentative budget of $9.1 million, a reduction of $1 million from this year’s budget.
The budget approved by the council sets the limit for what is available to the city, but once $2.3 million in qualified exemptions are deducted such as grants, interest revenues and long-term debt, the remaining $6.8 million keeps the budget under the state imposed limitation.
The council gave accolades to both City Manager Ray Alley and Assistant City Manager Randy Sullivan for the budget that was presented.
“I’m very pleased with the budget,” stated Mayor Jeff Hill.
Councilman Phil Cobb added that it was the best budget that he’d seen in six years.
It was noted that the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) continues to decline and was reduced by $6,000 for the coming year, leaving $250,000 for street improvements. Alley noted that although the funds have been reduced, the community will not see work on the streets slowing down. “We tried to get everything in this year’s budget that we’re going to need for next year. We fueled all the equipment, and purchased all the things we might go through in the next year,” stated Alley. The city even purchased back up pumps for the lift stations and stored up items that would likely need replacement over the coming year.
In addition, the council approved $5 million in claims, which includes a new fire truck that has been paid for in full.
“Our only debt left is the treatment plant, and we won’t be making any personnel additions,” Alley said.
He noted that the cost for jail services will go up in the coming year from 35 percent of the cost to 50 percent, or $120,000, and that in the 2014-15 fiscal year that will double to cover 100 percent of the cost.
Mayor Hill asked about the standing of the Local Government Investment Pool.
Sullivan said that he felt the city could easily make its goal of having $2 million in the LGIP by the end of the next fiscal year.
Alley also addressed the council stating that he was extremely impressed with Sullivan’s abilities regarding the budget. “This is the 15th budget that I’ve done and this guy is amazing. I hardly did anything this time around. I’m very pleased with the outcome of this budget,” he noted.
The council will hold another special meeting on Tuesday, July 30, to approve the property tax levy and the final budget. According to Alley, “There is no secondary tax involved and the rate will remain the same as it has for the past three years. In addition, there will be no utility rate increase for the residents.”
In other business, the council approved the purchase of a parcel of land located next to the Holbrook Senior Citizens facility on Joy Nevin Avenue with the intention of using the property to create a park for seniors residing in and visiting the facility to enjoy.