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Hartselle revenue budget to set record

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Expect the City Council here to pass the largest operating and revenue budget in the city's history, a budget that includes employee raises and a projected increase in sales-tax collection.

The $9.5 million estimated revenue budget that city leaders discussed Friday is almost $500,000 more than the city received for the 2006-07 fiscal year.

The increased revenue is coming from a number of sources, but one of the largest chunks will be Tennessee Valley Authority in-lieu-of-tax money. That number is expected to increase from $774,384 to nearly $900,000.

The TVA funds are up is because Hartselle will not have a payment for Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park.

"Those bonds pay off at the end of the year and we should be receiving all of our TVA money," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.

Revenue increase

Hartselle also expects sales-tax revenue, which is the city's largest revenue source, to increase from $4.80 million to $4.95 million.

City leaders attribute this increase, in part, to the growth on U.S. 31.

In the last two years, a video store, Mexican restaurant, O'Reilly Auto Parts and Captain D's have opened on U.S. 31. Walgreen's, an almost $2 million investment, is projected to open early next year.

As for expenditures, the proposed budget includes a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment and merit raises for all employees, which will cost about $199,451.

"I think our employees deserve a raise," Councilman Bill Smelser said.

A council majority agreed.

The council did not discuss giving retired employees an increase as city leaders did last year.

Capital improvements

Council members also looked at a proposed capital improvement budget that totals more than $2.26 million.

Part of this budget includes $558,000 to extend sewerage east of Interstate 65 to 18.8 acres of city-owned property near Alabama 36, and $325,000 for a new Fire Department pumper truck.

The council approved buying the pumper truck this fiscal year, but Tankersley said it will not be delivered until the next year's budget.

As for the city property at I-65, the budget also has $332,038 that must be paid to NBC Inc., the family-owned corporation that sold the land to Hartselle. The agreement with NBC Inc. required the city to pay $555,000 down last year and $27,669 monthly for the next five years.

The council agreed to wait until the fiscal year start before deciding on capital projects.

"That way we will have actual numbers on where we are revenuewise," Tankersley said.

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