City council approves budget

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Troy City Council approved a $68 million budget on Tuesday, the largest in the city’s history.

“It’s wonderful to be able to come in here with a sound fiscal plan and know that our city is growing,” said Marcus Paramore, District 3 councilman.

The general government portion of the FY 16 budget is $26.583 million and anticipates a continued increase in sales tax revenues.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We were growing considerably (in sales tax revenues) until 2008, when the economy took a turn,” Mayor Jason Reeves told council members during the work session prior to the meeting. “In recent years, we’ve seen those sales tax revenues increase and we anticipate that continuing.”

In addition to the sales tax revenue increases, Reeves said the budget anticipates capital outlays of $1.88 million; a 2.5 percent step increase in salary for eligible city employees; and a $500,000 increase in the city’s costs related to providing health insurance for employees.

In addition, the council approved an additional $770 pay increase to all employees to offset the increase in their health insurance premiums. “The total cost of this will be about $281,000, and I recommend we take that from our surplus,” Reeves said. The city has more than $3.2 million in its surplus fund.

The utilities portion of the budget is $41.437 million and anticipates continued increases in utility revenues, which help fund city programs.

“I think it’s a good budget,” Reeves said. “Our department heads have worked very hard to manage their budgets in the last few years, and this is an attempt to give them what they need to do their jobs.”

Dejerilyn King Henderson, District 5, abstained from voting on the budget. The remainder of the council voted to approve.

In other business on Tuesday, the council:

• Postponed awarding bids for drainage work on Diana Street.

• Approved extending the $2 million line of credit at First National Bank until November 2015 to allow time for the issuing bonds to fund the sewer and drainage improvement projects.

• Gave the mayor permission to move ahead with efforts to issue $10.5 million in bonds to refinance and fund sewer, electric and improvement projects.

“Some of this is already funded with short-term bank notes,” said Rush Rice, bond counsel for the city. “Right now, the rates are still incredibly low. We believe the Troy utility system is deserving of a rating upgrade, as was the City of Troy, and we’re going to be working towards that.”

• Endorsed a resolution supporting the designation of 25 acres of CGI property as an Enterprise Zone by the State of Alabama. The designation would allow CGI to take advantage of incentives and tax breaks offered by the state.

• Approved a 10-year tax abatement for Golden Boy Nut Corporation and the endorsement of Golden Boy as an Enterprise Zone. Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation, said Golden Boy Nut Corporation is planning a $9 million expansion that will add approximately 55 jobs to is Troy facility. The tax abatement and Enterprise Zone support the company’s efforts.

• Approved the moving of the District 1 polling place for municipal elections to the Troy Public Library from Academy Street School.

• Rejected bids for the Murphree Street outfall line and lift station pump replacement, which were more than $200,000 over expected costs.

• Re-appointed Susan Murphree to another four-year term on the library board.