Thorsby budget in the black

Published 8:21 pm Monday, April 16, 2012

Most of the time when cities start amending budgets in the middle of the year it’s because cuts are needed to stay in the black.

Thorsby has the opposite “problem” — because of unexpected revenue from several sources the town is actually expecting to bring in about $73,000 more than budgeted.

A large chunk of that money, a little more bit than $42,380, came from a settlement recently made with Ulch Companies for back taxes owed from 2005 through part of 2010.

But the town has also brought in more sales and alcohol taxes than expected and has been awarded several grants since the budget was approved. The town is also now bringing in rental income from the new Thorsby Dental Clinic, a city-owned building that was previously vacant.

“We are very fortunate that we are in this direction,” said Councilman Marvin Crumpton. “It could be very easily in the other direction. We are a very blessed little town.”

The council approved in a 3-2 vote to amend this year’s budget to divide the money among the administrative, police, fire, shop, garbage and water/sewer accounts.

Most of the money allocated to the police, fire, shop and garbage accounts (between $1,000 and $4,000 each) will help cover recent rises in fuel prices, Mayor Dearl Hilyer said. The garbage account was given a little more to help cover needed repairs on the town’s truck.

The administrative and water/sewer accounts saw the biggest bumps by the budget changes.

The administrative account was given $30,000; however, $13,000 of that will be grant money that will have to be taken back out soon. Part of the reminder will be spent on unbudgeted renovations at Helen Jenkins Chapel.

Councilman Neil Benson, who is overseeing the chapel work for the town, said renovations would total about $20,000, which includes replacing the floors and repairing termite damage.

The water/sewer account was increased by $33,000. Some of that money might be used to buy a new town truck later this year.

Council members Neil Benson, Marvin Crumpton and Jean Nelson voted for the budget amendments. Council members Willis Britt and Tara Jewell voted against the changes.

Britt said he would like to have seen the money put into a reserve and only spent as needed.

“If you don’t put it in the budget, you can still reach back in and get it (if needed),” Britt said. “When you increase the budget, you are authorizing additional expenses.”

Hilyer said without any changes, the town’s administrative account would be in the red because of the work at Helen Jenkins Chapel.

Nelson supported approving the budget amendments Monday because they would have to be eventually approved anyway, he said.

“You know most of it’s going to be used. You might as well go ahead and do it,” Nelson said.

In other business, the town took the following actions:

•Approved transferring an alcohol license from Main Street Market to Mini Market and Food. The store has new owners.

•Approved Tara Jewell to represent the town on the Chilton County 911 Board for two years, pending permission of the county commission.