One of the most important parts of operating a city -- and one of the least sensational -- is drawing up and passing a budget. A bunch of numbers on a page might thrill a wonk and make the public's eyes glaze over, but it's one of the crucial city council acts of the year.
The City of Burnside officially passed its 2019-2020 operating budget on Monday at the June City Council meeting, as well as the amendment putting the finishing touches on the previous fiscal year's budget.
"The adoption of this budget should keep the city out of any shortfall of revenues and keep the council better informed as to the finances of our town," said Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson in his budget statement.
For 2019-20, the city will operate with a projected budget of $1,539,300 based on revenues of $660,000 from taxes, $279,150 from licenses and fees, $506,250 from inter-governmental funds, and $93,900 from other sources.
Broken down further, $446,350 is allotted to the Burnside Police Department, $126,700 to the Burnside Fire Department, and $469,500 to city administration expenses.
In other areas, Burnside Waterworks is operating with a budget of $426,440, and the sewer department with $263,610. The Tourist and Recreation Commission has $290,000 to work with.
For the amendment to the 2018-19 fiscal year budget, fire department vehicle and equipment numbers decreased by $5,000, sewer infrastructure revenue increased by $36,000, and office as well as treatment and plant expenditures each increased by more than $16,000. Tourism revenues increased in the amended budget by $29,000, and advertising expenditures increased by $26,700.
Lawson noted that reflected in the above numbers are grant and loan monies applied to projects like water line repairs and the walking trail along West Lakeshore Drive.
"We are budgeting funds to erect two welcome signs, north and south of the city," said Lawson, "erecting a handicap swing (and) constructing a sidewalk along Main Street ... to Oak Street."
Added Lawson, "We have accepted a $2.27 million Kentucky Infrastructure Authority loan to replace water lines in the city, where one-half of that loan (is to be) forgiven and the rest is at a rate of 0.5 percent interest for 30 years. In return for approval, we passed a 10 percent rate increase in water and sewer rates effective July 1, 2019. The city's employee roster has remained stable and additional training has been obtained to improve our services to the citizens of Burnside."
Lawson told the Commonwealth Journal that the city has developed a plan to set money aside for maintenance to water and sewer system that are kept in separate checking accounts.
"If we don't use it, then we keep the money and set it aside (in those accounts)," he said. "It will be in there and not get lost when the budget rolls over. This way, the money stays in the account to be dedicated to (maintenance) down the road. We can get to it and use it if we have a major project."
The budget ordinances were passed unanimously.
In other Burnside City Council business:
• Matt Brown was sworn in as a new officer of the Burnside Police Department.
• Water Plant Manager Joey Murphy was honored for 20 years of service to the city and presented with a commemorative plaque.
• Lawson discussed using video conferencing technology to allow city councilors to take part in a meeting even while not physically present.
• Citizens of Cumberland Heights are beautifying the area around the sewer pump station outside their neighborhood on Ky. 90, and putting up shrubbery with the assistance of the city.
• New tourism director Frank Crabtree, Jr., was introduced.