Brundidge discusses outlook

Published 11:23 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

With so many towns, big and small, having to struggle with the downturn in the economy, Brundidge City Manager Britt Thomas worries a good bit.

“I do worry a lot, but I’m convinced that we’re all right,” Thomas told the Brundidge City Council members at its Tuesday meeting at Brundidge City Hall.

Thomas said he doesn’t know what 2010 will bring but, if history continues to hold true, Brundidge will continue to be “all right.”

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“As a city, we’ve never soared, but then we’ve not hit bottom either,” he said. “That’s where the line is for us, and I think that we are all right.”

Thomas said consumer confidence seems to be rising, but some economists are predicting that the economy will continue in a downward turn for three years.

“What we will do as a city is continue to adjust to the economic situation in such a way that it does not negatively impact the services that we provide to our residents,” he said.

“We are traveling an uncharged highway.”

Thomas presented a financial report to the council members through June, which is three-quarters through the fiscal year.

“We’re 75 percent through the year, and our revenue in the general and utilities funds is at 68 percent of what we had budgeted,” he said. “But, our expenses in the general fund are at 64 percent of what is budgeted, so we’re not in bad shape. In today’s climate that’s – and I hate to say acceptable — but we can live with that.”

Thomas reported that the awarding of a federally funded TIGER (Transportation Infrastructure, Economic Recovery) grant will be beneficial in providing freight rail to the Brundidge landfill site.

“We are well on the way in gathering data and getting the application filed,” he said.

“The project would have started in February 2010 and be completed in February 2012.”

Work has begun on the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library expansion project with the digging of the footing.

Thomas said the concrete will be poured on Friday and, if the weather cooperates, the expansion should be dried-in in 90 days.

“Something that really jumped out at me is that the elevation of the structure on the southwest corner is tall enough that I can walk under it, and I’m almost six-feet tall,” Thomas said. “I knew that there would be a significant difference in the elevation, but it was stunning to see that much difference.”

The council voted to give the city manager the authority to purchase a front-end loader and backhoe not to exceed $35,000 and to retain the backhoe presently in operation until it could be determined whether the cost would warrant its repair.

The council also agreed to a work session in which engineers would provide them with information about the changes in the water and sewer rates that will impact the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year.

Thomas said city residents saw a rather significant jump in their electric bills in July due to high temperatures over a longer period than in June.

The citywide increase was $40,000.