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By STEVEN NALLEY
The Starkville Board of Aldermen will hold a presentation and public hearing on a draft of the cityâ€™s budget for the 2012 fiscal year during its meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Also on the agenda are votes to amend a sanitation ordinance and adopt a master plan for new municipal facilities. The board will also decide on holding a public vote on a bond issue to pay for the construction outlined in the municipal complexâ€™s master plan.
Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk said the public hearing will be the first of two, and the second hearing will be the earliest the budget will come to a vote. The boardâ€™s deadline to decide on a budget is Sept. 15.
Sistrunk said the current draft of the budget shows few changes between fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
â€śWeâ€™ve done our very best to keep the budget flat and to live within our means,â€ť Sistrunk said. â€śWeâ€™ve kept the budget lean. At this point, weâ€™re not calling for tax increases.â€ť
Earlier in the year, Sistrunk said, city department heads filled out forms to request funds for the next fiscal year. A 178-page revenue and expense worksheet, posted with the boardâ€™s agenda to the city website, compiles those requests and compares them with the budgets for 2010 and 2011. The requests for the 2012 budget currently total $16,258,169.
That figure is $1,790,134 higher than total expenditures for 2010. Because the 2011 fiscal year does not finish until Sept. 30, only an estimate of total expenditures for 2011 is available: $15,160,836. Sistrunk said final numbers for 2011 will likely differ, because the estimateâ€™s core is an average of expenditures for October-May.
â€śBecause of the shortcomings in our software and the way it estimates annual expenses, the estimate for fiscal year 2011 shouldnâ€™t have a high degree of confidence associated with it,â€ť Sistrunk said. â€śFor instance, most of our road construction occurs during the summer months, and that estimate doesnâ€™t consider variations in expenditures related to timing of expenses like road construction.â€ť
Another facet of the worksheet that is more complex than it appears, Sistrunk said, is the set of budget surpluses shown for 2010 and projected for 2011. The sheet shows a $1,223,780 surplus in 2010 and a projected $1,630,050 surplus for 2011.
â€śDonâ€™t be misled into thinking we took in more than $1 million,â€ť Sistrunk said. â€śPart of that $1 million actually gets rolled over into that next yearâ€™s budget and gets spent next year.â€ť
The board will also hear a presentation of a master plan for the cityâ€™s municipal facilities and consider adopting it. Following that vote, on the agenda is a resolution to hold a public vote on a $8,455,000 bond issue to renovate City Hall and build a new police station at the corner of Highway 182 and Jackson Street.
Sistrunk said a date for the public vote has yet to be determined, but it will not likely coincide with county elections.
â€śThere are five districts for county elections and seven districts for city elections,â€ť Sistrunk said. â€śIt would be very difficult to align with the cycle of elections that are going on right now. It would probably be a stand-alone election.â€ť
After tabling the measure at its July 19 meeting, the board will vote again on proposed changes to a sanitation ordinance dealing with solid waste. Preceding the vote will be a third public hearing on the amendments.
Sistrunk said the new amendment up for discussion addresses issues that came up in past discussions, including unclear definitions of â€śstumps, logs and tree trunks,â€ť and questions about penalties for leaving garbage for curbside pickup outside designated hours.
The board will also:
u Hear a quarterly report on Starkville Parks and Recreation programs and projects by park commission Chairman Dan Moreland and park Director Matthew Rye;
u Consider a request from Diane Wall to place a Humane Society flyer in the Starkville Electric Departmentâ€™s billing cycle;
u Consider amending bylaws of the Solid Waste and Recycling Committee to reflect changes in terms, term limits and attendance requirements;
u Consider authorizing funds to extend the Pecan Road overlay to include the streetâ€™s full length.