Tyrone cuts spending at work session

Fri, 06/13/2008 - 3:15pm
By: Ben Nelms

Cuts to expenditures from the proposed 2008-2009 Tyrone General Fund budget at the June 10 work session totaled $270,389. Council members started the meeting with $739,475 in proposed expenditures over revenues for the budget that begins July 1. Though the revenue side of the budget was not discussed at the meeting, a line item for “Funds Carried Forward” for the 2007-2008 budget and totaling $490,626 was left blank in the projected revenue budget for 2008-2009. The council will meet again June 19.

Recently hired town Finance/Human Resources Director Mary Sturm said she is trying to make a determination on the the absence of nearly $500,000 in the revenue side of the proposed budget and whether it could be transferred into the 2008-2009 budget. If so, the cuts already proposed at the work session would be more than sufficient to balance the proposed 2008-2009 budget since the work shop ended with the council needing to cut another $469,086 to balance the budget. The town has approximately $1.5 million in reserves, Sturm said.

Proposed expenditure cuts at the budget session came largely in employee pay and benefits, a reduction in purchased and contracted outside services, consolidation of library services and the elimination of one part-time position. Proposed cuts made June 10 represent approximately 37 percent of what will be needed to balance with the $3.108 million in projected revenues. Excluding the $490,626 in Funds Carried Forward not included in the revenue side, most town departments showed a minor increase or decrease in expenditures over the 2007-2008 budget. The only notable increase was in Purchased/Contracted Services in the Administration budget. That line item is proposed to increase from $58,000 in 2007-2008 to approximately $200,000 in 2008-2009 unless further cuts are made.

Sturm said tabulated the results of the work shop, saying Thursday that projected expenses of $739,475 over revenues had been reduced to $469,086, representing savings of $270,389. Cuts were made to the budgets of most town departments.

The council proposed eliminating employees’ 2.5 percent Cost of Living Allowance, the 2.5 percent longevity increase, a combined savings of $65,000. Also proposed for elimination was the town’s payment for long-term disability as was a new requirement that employees begin paying for 20 percent of dependent coverage on health insurance, representing a savings of $45,000. The town currently pays 100 percent of individual and dependent coverage.

Also slated for $75,000 in cuts was the budget category for purchased and contracted outside services. Those include attorney’s fees, engineering costs and other professional expenses. The library budget was proposed for reduction by $48,000, a move to be accomplished by consolidating staff and reducing the purchase of materials and other items. Other cuts came in the elimination of the part-time code enforcement officer at $15,000 and a reduction of $9,000 in the Founder’s Day budget, with fireworks at the event to be eliminated.

The next budget work session will be held June 19 at 7 p.m. at town hall. The budget is expected to be approved at a called meeting June 26.

Also at the meeting, council members discussed the payment in the current budget year of excess vacation time cashed in months earlier by City Clerk Valerie Caldwell, who was fired after the work shop, and former Town Manager Barry Amos. The cash-ins included approximately $22,000 for Amos and $14,000 for Caldwell. Responding to questions by the council, Caldwell said the excess vacation time, that exceeding the accruable 240-hour maximum, had been approved late last year by then-Mayor Sheryl Lee.

The discussion regarding the cash-in by Amos and Caldwell was part of a larger discussion pertaining to employees that had amassed more than the 240 hours, or 30 days, allowed under town policy. According to policy, vacation accrued in excess of 240 hours “must be used within the following quarter after which time the days will be lost.” The policies in the handbook went into effect in 1999.

Sturm said Thursday that a total of 24 town employees currently have a total of $37,700 amassed in excess vacation and/or compensatory time.

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The 5-0's picture
Submitted by The 5-0 on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 3:28pm.

"Also proposed for elimination was the town’s payment for long-term disability..."

If there are any jobs which DESERVES and REQUIRES long-term disability coverage, it is law enforcement and the fire department.
How can we ask our public servants to protect us if we won't agree to help them if they get hurt!

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