Tyrone talks FY 2011 budget; millage rate to remain steady

The adoption of Tyrone’s FY 2011-2012 budget is just around the corner. A proposed increase of approximately a quarter million dollars from the current $3.145 million general fund budget

would come from potential grant-assisted capital projects and small increases in healthcare costs.

The Town Council will meet again in May and June to iron out the details that will still result in the town maintaining a 2.89-mill property tax rate and $4.4 million in cash reserves.

The council is currently considering two versions of the General Fund budget, with the difference being $33,643. One would come in at $3,369,781 and would include no cost-of-living increase for town staff. The other would total $3,403,424 and would include a two-percent cost-of-living increase. The town’s current General Fund budget sits at $3,145,479.

As proposed, the budget version with no cost-of-living accommodations represents an increase of $224,305 over this year while the version with the adjustment would represent a increase of $257,945.

The bottom line increase, said Town Manager Richard Newbern, is accounted for by increases in health premiums and grant-assisted capital projects. Those projects include a $100,000 set-aside for stormwater maintenance, $80,000 for upgrades to the tennis/basketball courts at Shamrock Park, $45,000 for a pedestrian bridge at Shamrock, $60,000 for entrance improvements to the town, $92,000 for resurfacing projects, $15,000 for erosion control at Handley park and $6,000 for sewer drain fields at the police department. Of the $398,000 total, Newbern said the cost to the town is expected to be $263,500 since the remaining $134,000 would be covered by grant subsidies.

Regardless which way the council goes with the final budget, city staff has figured a potential five percent reduction of the tax digest into the totals. That figure of continued declining worth of the county closely follows the projections made by Fayette County pertaining to the tax digest due out later this year, though it is a bit more conservative than the county’s estimate.

Like last year, a small portion of the town’s cash reserves, somewhere between $175,000-$210,000, would need to be used if the council decides on one or the other of the proposed budgets.

But there is a bright side to the budget conversation - Tyrone’s reserve funds. Pertaining to Tyrone’s overall fiscal health, the town has $2 million in certificate’s of deposit and $2.4 million in money market accounts.

Yet another bright side to the budget talks is the millage rate, expected again this year to remain at 2.89 mills.

Addressing the formulation of the budget, Newbern said department heads had worked hard to identify every cost-saving measure available to reduce their operating costs by three percent.

“Most departments have been able to meet this goal of a three percent operational cost reduction,” Newbern said in a May 6 memo. “This is on top of a three percent reduction experienced with the last budget cycle. Town departments have done a good job to maintain services in a tight budget environment.”

The council during the review asked for clarification at upcoming budget meetings on proposed expenditures such as required training needs.

The council will hold budget work sessions on May 18 and June 1 in preparation for adopting the budget later in June.

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