Alvord City Council talks budget, deputies at workshop

By David Talley | Published Saturday, August 12, 2017
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Alvord City Council members Thursday discussed holding the city’s tax rate steady, giving the city a slight surplus due to recently raised property valuations.

The discussions were part of a public budget workshop in which council members can discuss ideas, but not vote on specific items.

City Services Coordinator Clint Mercer and bookkeeper Susan Raines presented the proposed budget, which included $582,027 in expected general fund expenses and $482,064 in expected revenue. The city is also anticipating starting the fiscal year with about $100,000.

Keeping taxes at 6.01517 cents per $100 valuation would yield an additional $18,000 in revenue, which would be used for capital expenditure projects, Mercer said. Several council members expressed interest in holding the rate steady, with Mayor Roy King and members Jim Enochs and Troy Gregg offering support of holding the rate but verbally opposed to raising it any higher.

Mercer said the town’s rates are lower than many others in the county who “provide this level of service,” which includes water and sewer.

“If we hold our same tax rate, we’re still sitting very good in comparison to the county. We have a solid budget as we have it right now,” he said. “If you’ll notice, we have about $32 to spare. [The rate] just gives us a little cushion. We’re not looking to devote that to any expenses.”

Holding the rate steady doesn’t require additional hearings, Mercer said.

The budget also reflects a raise for Librarian Pamela AlHusaini, who Raines said was going above and beyond in the role.

“She brings in participants and children to the summer reading program and has done an amazing job,” Raines said.

The council also discussed the city’s water/sewer budget and revenue, with the department budgeting for $659,930.28 in expenses and $662,310 in revenue, which includes $170,000 transferred in from the city’s general fund. The council also discussed raises for water/sewer department workers with Enochs verbally supporting the raises. The budget includes an item for raises, but Mercer added that accepting the budget doesn’t commit the council to them.

Council members also discussed the city’s resident deputies with Mayor Pro Tem Kirk Gibson, citing recent drug issues in the town and the Aug. 7 shooting of two men in the city as an important reason to have uniformed officers in town to act as a deterrence.

“Having their presence helps us,” he said. “The dopers don’t like it.”

After the council continued to discuss the matter, Mercer reminded the council they were within the confines of a budget workshop and members agreed to add the issue as a discussion item on their next agenda.

Council members also discussed offering raises for the deputies, with Gregg and others in favor of the raises.

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