PTC cuts 800k out of budget

Fri, 04/18/2008 - 3:14pm
By: John Munford

The Peachtree City Council unanimously passed a slate of budget cuts Thursday night in response to shrinking sales tax revenues.

The cuts approved by council totaled more than $800,000 with the largest chunk, $515,000, coming from delays in financing purchases and savings from lower-than-expected interest rates. Nearly $300,000 of the budget cuts came from individual departments.

Meanwhile, council postponed a proposal to save an additional $65,000 by reducing the city’s contribution to its defined benefit pension plan.

City Finance Director Paul Salvatore said that move was approved by the city’s actuary and would not have affected payments issued to pensioners, so it made sense as a one-time budget cut. Though Salvatore said that cut was scheduled for September, the last month of the fiscal year,

Councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett said she’d rather wait until later to see if the city might have enough money at the end of the year. Salvatore said the city is anticipating an $850,000 shortfall in sales taxes for the entire year, and had council passed the full slate of cuts it would have covered that shortfall. He also noted that the some of the city’s other revenues are higher than expected including money from franchise fees and the insurance premium tax.

The increased revenues will bring the city’s total shortfall to about $600,000

It was also noted that the city’s department directors came up with a longer list of cuts that possibly could be applied at a later date if necessary.

Cuts from individual departments, totaling $342,764, came mostly from items such as computer supplies, education and training, office supplies and printing costs. Mayor Harold Logsdon said he was concerned particularly about cutting training for the fire department. Fire Chief Ed Eiswerth said the department could live with the cuts this year, as the department cut training for specialized teams. But next year Eiswerth said he’ll be recommending the training be reinstated.

The fire department is also saving money by doing its fire officer training in house this year, Eiswerth said. Salvatore also noted that the real problem with the lower sales tax revenues is in the projected budget for 2009. He also noted that the economic downturn is expected to last for several years.

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Submitted by sageadvice on Sun, 04/20/2008 - 6:08am.

I have tried to follow the bottom line on the write-up of the budget cuts above, but I do not yet know what is expected to happen.
What does "delays in financing purchases," mean?
Are our city loans on Variable rates? The report indicates that they are since they expect to make money on lower interest rates?
I don't know how to estimate how much less people will spend on sales tax, causing income to decrease for the city. How much of the 6% sales tax does the city get? Isn't it about 2%? If 2%, then they must be projecting 42 million in lost sales!
I am really getting tired of the gobbledegook information supplied and printed about budgets, home values, reserve accounts, tennis centers, sewer lines, water usage, police stations, re-zonings, and scores more!

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