By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
While Williamsburg City Council members unanimously approved the new budget for fiscal year 2013-2014, Mayor Roddy Harrison let council members know cutbacks are likely imminent for future budgets.
“The city is in fine shape,” Harrison said. “We’re doing really well — but this is a very, very, very tight budget.”
The passed budget shows slightly more than $3.086 million for the city.
Harrison detailed the basic budget expenditure breakdown for council members. The general fund holds more than $1.078 million for the next fiscal year. Williamsburg Police Department was allotted $943,502 for the new budget. The Williamsburg Fire Department will receive $354,740 for the new year. The city’s street department was allotted $130,500 for 2013-2014. The sanitation department is slated to receive $492,060, and the recreation department will have $86,860 in funds.
That totals to $3,086,300 for the total 2013-2014 city budget.
But the belt will likely be tightened.
“I’m going to ask the supervisors to take their budgets and cut everywhere and anywhere they can,” Harrison said, citing examples of fuel cost reductions and overtime. “We want them to try to stay under their budget.”
Cuts have already taken place.
“We’re cutting as much as we can,” Harrison added. “But we can cut more.”
The mayor also said that despite last year’s raise — the new budget does not reflect one for the new fiscal year.
What the city did manage to do, according to Harrison, was reduce a 6 percent increase in healthcare costs to only a 3 percent increase.
The mayor also told council members that cuts were not the only solution.
“We are also working on bringing jobs into the area to increase our revenue,” Harrison said.
The budget was passed Friday during a special-called meeting of city council at noon. The first reading of the budget was during the city council’s meeting Thursday.
“You don’t have to take a vote today,” Harrison told council members Thursday night.
City Attorney Greta Price read the ordinance itself, then council members began discussing various budget items.
One topic brought up was refinancing some of the bonds the city owes, however, Harrison explained they’ve looked into refinancing, and for most of the bonds owed, it was not worth the extra time in paying the debts.
However, the possibility does exist on refinancing the bond for city hall, which will be reviewed during the next fiscal year.
Council member Richard Foley motioned to approve the budget, with a second from council member Erica Harris. Present council members were unanimous in this decision — absent from both Thursday and Friday’s meetings were council members Chet Riley and Troy Smith.
Also discussed and voted on separately was the budget for Williamsburg Tourism.
That coffer has $631,500 budgeted for the new year.
Council member MaryAnn Stanfill motioned to approve the tourism budget, with a second from Council member Laurel West. Present council members were unanimous in this decision.