By CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Like swimming pools, cookouts and suntan lotion, budget-passing is a time-honored tradition of summer. A crucial piece of government business that the Pulaski County Fiscal Court wrapped up on Tuesday.
The total 2013-14 fiscal year budget was passed unanimously upon a second reading by Pulaski County magistrates, along with the second reading of an amendment to the 2012-13 budget.
The 2013-14 budget clocked in at a robust $29,037,669. Judge-Executive Barty Bullock noted that the amount is about $800,000 more than last year’s budget.
“A lot of it is just inflation,” said Bullock of the rise in the coming year’s budget from the one gone by. “It’s just the difference in the cost of everything.”
Signs of tightening belts are evidenced throughout. “Money is so tight,” said Bullock. “I’m hoping things pick up more. The occupational tax picks up, and things loosen up more.
“We’ve got a balanced budget; it looks okay,” he added, “but it’s stringent now. We wish we’d been able to do more for our employees, but when it’s not there, we can’t.”
That crunch is felt in relatively “small amounts” from various areas, he said — the airport, road department, industrial development — but “not enough to break anything.”
Among the key numbers in the new fiscal year’s budget:
• The total general fund is budgeted at $13,408980. This includes transportation, roads, capital projects and administration;
• $5,468,959 in the road fund;
• $511,000 in the L.G.E.A. (Local Government Economic Assistance) fund;
• $2,418,500 in the fire fund;
• $1,705,500 in the industrial development fund;
• $1,674,500 toward emergency dispatch;
• $7,240 for economic development.
Also passed was an amendment to the previous year’s budget, increasing receipts of the general, road, jail, L.G.E.A, fire, emergency dispatch and grant funds by $1,459,148.