Athens Council approves $21 million budget
By Holly Hollman
ATHENS — City leaders have approved a $21 million budget for fiscal 2008 and hope to give department heads more than $800,000 in capital requests.
On Monday, the council approved its General Fund budget and included $350,000 for capital needs like police surveillance and security equipment and a fire engine. Total capital requests are for $869,650.
Mayor Dan Williams said the city plans to meet the remainder of those capital requests with $500,000-plus left over from its fiscal 2007 budget.
The budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for employees, but they won’t see that until Jan. 1.
The budget is a tight one, with the council expecting to end the year with only a $12,629 surplus.
The council also approved budgets for the utility departments, and the approval includes an increase in sewer fees for residents and businesses.
The council increased rates 71/2 percent to $2.87 per 1,000 gallons of water used. That will make the average homeowner’s bill go up $1 a month.
The council also raised land development impact fees for sewer from $546 per lot to $800 per lot.
Williams said the increases are necessary to fund sewer expansion and constructing a treatment facility for $30 million.
The utility departments’ approved budgets are:
Wastewater: $3.1 million in revenues and $3 million in expenses.
Water: $4.2 million in revenues and $3.8 million in expenses.
Gas: $12.9 million in revenues and $12.7 in expenses.
Athens budget requests
The following shows the amount each department and agency will receive in Fiscal 2008. Capital projects do not have final approval but the ones listed are the items the council expects to approve with leftover revenue from fiscal 2007 and with allocations in fiscal 2008.
Police: $3,955,505, which includes hiring two police officers midyear.
Capital: $254,230 total for a communications voice recorder, camera system, parking lot, fingerprint scanner, two computers, two cameras, two radar units, five vehicles and a radio console.
Fire: $2,755,805, which includes hiring a fire inspector midyear.
Capital: $395,000 to replace a 1979 fire engine
Cemetery/Parks Recreations: $1,631,493
Capital: $153, 567 total for a backhoe, new pavilion at Kids Dugout and Wellness Park, pickup, two lawn mowers, 20 sets of bleachers for Sports- plex and Cowart ballfields, seven weed cutters, trailer, edger, welder, printer and picnic tables for Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park.
Street: $1,079,592, which includes hiring three people midyear.
Capital: $14,253 total for a welder, 20-ton press, transmission jack, torch air condition unit and concrete saw.
Capital: $20,800 total for storage bunkers, wiring existing shed and repair warehouse roof.
Public Works: $232,425
Capital: $30,000 for geographic information system equipment.
General and Administrative: $886,376
Inspection, Community Development and Engineering: $463,443
Athens-Limestone Public Library: $108,246
Houston Library: $26,000
Athens-Limestone Kidney Association: $2,000
North Central Alabama Mental Health: $10,000
Tennessee Valley Rehabilitation: $3,500
Association for Retarded Citizens: $6,000
Alabama Veterans Museum: $4,000
Emergency Management: $14,000
Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful: $23,000
Silver Hair Legislature: $1,500
Boys and Girls Club: $25,000
Pet sterilization program: $5,000
Beautification board: $10,000
Special events: $13,500
Family Resources: $6,500
Red Cross: $2,200
Historical Commission: $8,000
Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce: $77,000
Council on Aging: $90,190
Cowford Campground: $34,000
Pryor Field: $30,000
Animal housing contract: $55,800
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