CORBIN — By John L. Ross Staff Writer
A brief meeting and a couple votes — that’s all it took to finalize the city of Williamsburg’s budget Thursday.
The new budget goes into effect July 1.
During a special-called meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday, all six council members gathered at city hall for the second reading of the city’s 2014-2015 fiscal year budget.
During the council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Mayor Roddy Harrison explained that the city’s budget, while tight, could include a $2,000 per employee raise.
And now with the official vote — it does.
“The city is in good shape,” the mayor said Tuesday. “However, revenues for water, sewer and garbage have decreased — and expenses are on the increase.”
He added that the loss of CSC caused a hit with the city’s occupational tax funds. “Health care costs rose as well,” Harrison said.
But he wanted to include raises for the city employees.
“We made huge cuts where we could (to) keep everyone employed,” he said, explaining that each city department was tasked with finding 2 percent in their respective budgets to cut out. “Some cut less, some cut more,” he added, saying the cuts brought in a little more than $100,000 to the table for the budget. “We did find a lot to cut,” he said.
In order to keep city staff and maintain city services, the decision was made to sign on with a “lower” coverage option when it came to the city’s health insurance. In the process of signing on with a rate, Harrison said the option chosen provides employees to “buy up” and get the increased coverage for $50 per month. The city currently pays just over $408 per employee for health insurance.
“We are looking for any and all (ways to increase) revenue in Williamsburg,” Harrison said, with the goal of increasing the “city’s property taxes and occupational taxes we lost.”
He also said the hope is to add more revenue in the water and sewer departments. He also mentioned a possible ordinance to change the city’s parking and other fines. “Some of these are years and years and years old,” Harrison said. “We’re doing anything and everything to bring a revenue stream without raising taxes.”
On Thursday, Council member Troy Sharp made the motion to approve the budget, with a second to the motion made by Council member Richard Foley. Council members were unanimous in this decision.
With that vote, general fund revenues total $3,021,452. The expenditures for this fund include:
— General fund, $900,976
— Police, $991,144
— Fire, $358,127
— Street, $138,551
— Sanitation, $547,447
— Recreation, $85,207
The budget for the Hal Rogers Family Entertainment Center shows revenues and expenses totaling $1,075,450.
The sinking fund budget for the entertainment center shows revenues and expenses totaling $453,340.
Water revenues are expected to be $1,135,970, and expenses are budgeted at $1,064,793. Under that same heading, sewer revenues are anticipated to be $855,470, with expenses budgeted at $926,647. Total revenues for water and sewer are budgeted at $1,991,440, with expenses budgeted that same amount.
The water and sewer sinking fund revenues and expenses are budgeted at $332,204.
Before the final vote on the city’s budget, Foley asked whether any of the city’s bond payments are close to the end. Harrison said the next one to be paid off will be the water treatment plant in 2017. The water park’s bond payment ends “six years and eight months” from now, it was also learned.
The Williamsburg Tourism was also approved during Thursday’s meeting — their budget calls for $648,300 in total income, with that same amount under expenses. Harrison noted that $252,000 was the water park bond payment.
Council member Laurel West made the motion to approve the tourism budget, with a second to the motion made by Council member Mary Ann Stanfill. Council members were unanimous with this decision as well.