Revenues keep budget outlook positive in Mount Holly

by Alan Hodge

Members of the Mount Holly City Council received an update on next year’s proposed municipal budget last month, and the outlook is good.

At the April 16 meeting, Assistant City Manager Jamie Guffey presented the council with information about projected 2012-13 revenues, expenditures, personnel matters and fees. According to Guffey’s figures, the city tax and utility rates, as well as fee costs, should remain the same as those currently in place. Guffey, who pointed to increased efficiency in collecting taxes as a factor driving revenues, said the total projected 2012-13 revenues should come in at $9.2 million.

“People are paying earlier than ever,” he said.

Even the weather, Guffey said, has helped improve the city’s cash flow.

“With the end of the drought we are collecting more water and sewer revenues,” Guffey said. “People are washing their cars and watering their lawns more. Our revenues are looking good.”

Budget discussions also touched on personnel matters, including three new firefighter positions with estimated $41,800 salaries, two street and sewer worker positions with estimated $34,300 salaries, and an administrative position with a $39,000 salary. The new position requests still require job descriptions, and all salary totals include benefits.

Guffey’s presentation included a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for all city employees. City council member Jason Gowen balked at the raise by pointing out the scarcity of across-the-board raises in the private sector.

“I am disturbed by this blanket raise,” Gowen said. “I don’t agree with it, but I respect it.”

Guffey also told the council that the city pays about $1 million a year for health insurance for its employees. He said the premium increase for this year had been kept low at 6.9 percent and credited the city’s wellness program for keeping it that way.

“The healthier our employees are helps our rates,” Guffey said.

The final numbers for the 2012-13 municipal budget will be presented to the council in May, with a public hearing and vote in June.

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