BUCKHANNON – Following a series of working sessions, Buckhannon City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a 2019-2020 budget with little discussion.
City finance and administrative director Amberle Jenkins said council members had previously considered multiple aspects of the budget – which is balanced at approximately $4.5 million – prior to Thursday’s vote.
The general fund budget is balanced at $4,524,908 and will be submitted to the W.Va. State Auditor’s Office March 28.
Jenkins welcomed the public to come pore over the city budget at city hall.
“Anybody that would want to look over the detailed line items of the budget is more than welcome to come into city hall and do so,” Jenkins said. “We welcome that.”
“The general fund budget is balanced at $4,524,908, and of that, about 45 percent will go to public safety and 33 percent will go to the streets.”
Other line items include: $60,000 to outside agencies such as the Upshur County Economic Development Authority; $334,463 for administration; $68,361 for housing; $2,014,790 for public safety; $1,478,667 for streets; $165,250 for culture; $45,000 for flowers; and $296,425 for the Stockert Youth & Community Center.
“Council’s contingency, which is at council’s discretion to use those funds throughout the fiscal year, is $61,952,” Jenkins said. “In revenues, the valuations from the assessor’s calculated at estimated property taxes to be collected $871,174.”
Jenkins noted city officials did not budget any revenue in the form of municipal sales tax, which won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2010.
“We did not budget any estimated collection of sales tax under this budget, as it will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2020, and the first check that we’re going to receive is in April of 2020, and we expect this to be the lowest check that we’ll receive in any future submissions that we’re receiving,” she said.
Additionally, the city expects to garner $1.3 million in business and occupation taxes; $245,000 in utility taxes; and $321,000 in fire, police and public safety complex fees, Jenkins said.
“We are anticipating having $650,000 on hand as this budget goes into effect on July 1, but once we close out our books on June 30, we will have an actual number, and we must come back and do a budget revision to reflect any changes in the balance on hand,” she said.
Jenkins highlighted a few other items included in the budget.
“In this budget, there’s a project called the Gateway West project, which is large lighting and sidewalk project along west Main Street. This is a $412,000 project of which the city will receive $329,000 in grant funds,” she said.
In addition, $100,000 has been budgeted for streets/sidewalks repairs and projects, and $80,000 for paving projects on N. Spring Street, S. Kanawha Street and Friendly Way.
There’s a pay raise for full-time employees built into the budget, Jenkins said.
“In this budget, there’s a pay increase for full-time city employees,” she explained. “It’s a pool for each department with an average of $1 per hour per full-time employee. Supervisors will have the discretion to base the pay increase on performance evaluations within the department with a minimum and capped at a $1.50 an hour.”
The pay increase won’t go into effect until Dec. 1, 2019.
Councilman David Thomas made a motion to approve the budget, which was seconded by councilwoman Mary Albaugh prior to passing unanimously.