Thursday, April 24, 2014
Mayor Buck reviews city’s financials
By SUE WATSON
In a marathon four-hour board of aldermen meeting this month, mayor Kelvin Buck reviewed the current state of Holly Springs’ fiscal year finances up to March 31 of this year, as compared to March 31, 2013, and there were several positives.
Some of the highlights of the revenues and expenditures in the general city budget were reviewed with respect to payment of debt, investments in maintenance, cost-cutting measures and increase in revenues.
On the revenue side, Buck made these main points:
• ad valorem tax collections for last fiscal year through March 2013 were $701,177. However, tax collections in March 2014 are up to $835,975, due to millage increases for the police department bond and general city funds. The tax picture is, in fact, better than expected, Buck said.
• a millage assessment to pay on the police station bond has brought in $75,410. The revenue is being applied to the bond, leaving about $2.7 million to be paid.
• sales tax collections are $586,867, or about $16,500 less than projected.
• the tax equivalency payments to the city are up from $734,476 to $876,254. The equivalencies in gas, water and sewer have seen no significant change. Payments had not been received at this point in 2013 because at the time of these calculations, the city had received the April electric tax equivalency.
• garbage collections are up about $28,000 over projected figures.
• police fines are down about $10,000.
In terms of revenue, there has been a net increase of about $311,774, Buck said.
On the expense side the following main points were presented:
• salaries of the mayor and board of aldermen did not change over projected for the period in question.
• salaries in the mayor’s and city clerk’s offices were down about $18,000. About $8,000 was decreased in expenditures because the mayor’s administrative assistant position was vacant for most of the period.
• executive travel was down from a projected $14,000 to $9,703 because of some cancelled trips to the Mississippi Municipal League conference.
• auditing expenses were up from a projected $20,000 to $40,000. The increase reflects payments to auditors for an audit last year.
• capital expenditures included $198,000 on the police station bond and about $56,000 due to Mississippi Development Authority and TIF loan repayments.
• legal expenses last year were $9,000 and this year expenses are up to $12,180. That is an increase of about $3,000 over expected.
• insurance on buildings and vehicles decreased by about $20,000 over last year going from $138,458 to $119,949.
• group health insurance went from $237,211 to $137,647, a savings of about $100,000. This gain is due to about $40,000 in credit from the bridge plan fund that was freed up when the city cancelled the bridge plan and the remainder from savings to the city because employees are now paying a portion of their health insurance (15 percent of the annual employee insurance cost).
• transfers to other funds. About $80,000 that was taken from the tourism fund has been returned.
• unemployment insurance is up from an expected $5,400 to $22,264. The close to $17,000 increase in contributions is the result of termination of some employees during restructuring.
In summary, the expenses are up about $54,050 in the general city fund. The expense by March 2013 was $1,419,693 and the actual expense by March 2014 was $1,473,743.
The city also paid off a loan of $103,000 from a local bank to cover the settlement of a lawsuit with Opulent Life Church.
Operational costs were reduced by about $55,000. Repair and maintenance increased about $28,000 due to roof repairs at the technology center.
Sanitation costs decreased by about $18,000.
Recreation costs were down from an expected $68,454 to $34,026 because of vacancies in positions. Costs to repair or replace equipment were up about $4,897. Total savings in Parks and Recreation to date is about $26,685.
Garage costs are up, due to hiring two mechanics. Maintenance and repair increased by $11,000.
The Technology Center came in at about $17,000 under projected costs of $65,000 due to a reduction in salary outlays during restructuring.
Telephone and Internet costs are up about $12,000, from a projected $44,681 to $56,000, including the addition of Internet to the Multi-Purpose Building.
Total expenses went from March 2013 at $3,433,992 to $3,252,599 in March 2014 or a decrease of about $181,000.
The total savings to the city budget, of projected revenues of $3,882,829 to actual expenditures of $3,252,599, has saved the city about $630,229. That gives the city almost a half million dollars more revenue to work with, Buck said.
“That, any way you cut it, is a significant shift in revenue we go by in our budget,” Buck said. “The expense will continue to be down and we expect revenues to go up over four years.”
Buck said the financials are an “eye-opener.”
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “We still have looming debt and the $3 million loan (to be paid back to Mississippi Development Authority). We will continue to work on our debt even though we have come up with a half-million dollars in savings.”
Mayor Buck reviewed some debt issues.
New weather sirens are to be paid off with five payments of $20,000 annually. Four police cars are a new debt and the city is paying on fire trucks.
A Caterpillar soil compactor the city purchased to do work at the Splash Pad during its construction is costing the city $1,000 a month. Buck said the compactor is not needed and there is a balance of $50,000 owed. He will see if the city can trade it in.
A Tourism Bond of $415,000 for the construction of the Multi-Purpose Building will be paid off in 2019.
A TIF bond matures in 2018 and the city must pay $2,929.50 on it in June.
A CAP Loan of $577,439 matures in 2020. The 10-year loan is being paid off by a tenant at the industrial park.
The city will begin to pay back $3 million to MDA, beginning with the first payment of $375,000 in 2015.
A workmen’s compensation liability payment of $181,000 is being paid off with the last payment of $62,670 processed in March. Auto insurance policy of $24,405 has been paid for the year.
The 2014 property insurance policy has not been paid and comes due in July 2014.
The Hill Crest Cemetery project status is at a hold with $499,751, the original sum of the grant. On December 31, 2013, the balance in the fund was $318,000, with $68,557 going to IMS Engineers, $105,340 to Barnes and Bower and $7,800 to Jackson Construction.
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (662) 252-3388
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
The South Reporter
P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
©2004, The South Reporter, All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any way without permission.
The South Reporter is a member of the Mississippi Press Association.
Site managed and maintained by
South Reporter webmasters Linda Jones, Kristian Jones
Web Site Design - The South Reporter
Back | Top of Page