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Jemison anticipates increased revenue

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Jemison City Council has approved the 2019 fiscal year budget, which begins Oct. 1.

The budget includes $4,022,129 in anticipated revenue and $3,991,066 in expenses. This leaves $31,063 in expected revenue as a surplus, in addition to paying off some of the city’s debt.

“When we sit down to do our budget, we are very, very conservative on our revenues,” City Administrator Shannon Welch said. “That way, anything that comes in above the budgeted revenues can be put into the savings account.”

An increase in revenue from city sales tax as well as sales and use taxes is expected to bring an additional $48,000 to the city in the 2019 fiscal year.

“We just finished one of the best years as far as cash position the city has had in a long time,” Welch said.

Welch said revenue from taxes, fees and similar revenues has increased by 12 percent over the last two years.

“The economy is getting better,” Welch said. “People are spending more and more money. I think we see that across our nation right now, and it’s reflected in our local municipality.”

The city will also receive $82,000 from the Chilton County Board of Education to cover two Security Resource Officers and $5,000 from CAWACO for a grant to purchase new body cameras for the Jemison Police Department.

Income to the city from building permits is expected to be lower than last year.

Welch said the anticipated revenue for this was increased last year because the city knew Burger King was coming.

Expenses for the city will increase some in the next fiscal year. An additional $12,000 is being budgeted for salaries, bringing the total to $287,000.

Welch said changes in specific department budgets were made for bookkeeping purposes to ensure employees were being paid out of the correct budget.

Expenses for membership fees is increased from $18,000 (2018 FY) to $53,000 (2019 FY).

“The reason for the increase is the city is trying to be proactive in recruiting some eating establishments, some restaurants … midway through this year we went ahead and contracted with a company called Retail Strategies, and they were a retail recruitment firm.”

Welch said this company has worked with Alabaster, Prattville and several “municipalities that have been highly successful with them.”

Jemison has a one-year contract with the company and can renew on a yearly basis.

This expense was put in the membership fees since it would have to be renewed each year.

Christmas expenses will increase by $20,000 in order to purchase a new Christmas tree for outside Jemison City Hall. Welch said the tree used last year was 12 years old and was falling apart.

The city will be paying $729,407 toward paying down debt, vehicle lease payments, workmen’s comp and liability insurance. These expenses are funded through a portion of sales tax, property taxes and business license fees. The city will be paying off a truck for the fire chief, a police vehicle and the city’s computer system.

The remaining debt will have include four bonds, a loan from Central State Bank for the local portion of repaving County Road 42 and leases.

The budget for the Fire and Rescue Department will be increasing slightly, so a part-time medic can be hired.

“We are the only municipality in the county that does transport people to and from the hospital,” Welch said.

Gasoline tax revenue from the state is expected to decrease by $10,000. The budget calls for spending $18,500 of the $34,500 that will be received. These funds can only be spent on specific needs, such as street material and street lights. Welch said the city is working to have a surplus in this fund to have enough funding to pave some streets in a few years. He said a recent project the county paid for cost $100,000 per mile.