Commonwealth Journal

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June 10, 2014

Council passes first reading of budget

Somerset —

Somerset citizens could see less expenses next year even though the city will up its spending in most areas.
The city will spend nearly $2 million less during the upcoming fiscal year than they did during current one, according to first reading of the 2014-15 fiscal year’s budget at Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting. But they will increase funding to most services.
The city’s smaller budget reflects the completion of the new sewer plant and the near completion of the regional water plant, both of which took a large dent of last year’s budget, allowing them to allocate more funds to most areas with out actually spending more.
“(We have proposed) a really good budget,” Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said. “We’re able to provide more services with less money.”
The proposed budget will not be official until the city council reads it a second time, at their next meeting on June 23, and votes to pass it. It can be amended during before then.
The 2015 fiscal year will begin on July 1 and end on June 30, 2015.
“There’s no tax increase in (in the proposed budget,) Girdler said. “In fact, we budgeted a 10 percent a reduction in the property taxes again” which will come in the form of a tax credit.
Major changes include slashing the Water Service Department’s budget by nearly half, from $17,216,000 to $8,701,000, and raising the city’s general fund from the amended $15,928,492 to $22,063,525.
Other changes in the proposed budget include:
• The cemetery fund will decrease from $75,200 to $43,700.
• Sanitation services will decrease by $547,500, making it’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year $2,372,500.
• $17,888,000 will be spent on gas services, $3,923,800 more than the previous fiscal year, but $36,200 less than originally budgeted for that year.
• $6,207,000 will be allocated for the Wastewater Department, $1,902,175 less than in the previous fiscal year.

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