The City of Doolittle’s budget for fiscal year 2013-14, which takes effect July 1, looks similar to the 2012-13 budget, except for some minor changes.
At the Doolittle Board of Aldermen’s June 10 meeting, board members approved the new budget by a vote of 5-0. Alderwoman Sherry Pierce was absent.
Doolittle Mayor Paul Smith said he prepared the new balanced budget, which has revenue and expenditures each totaling $251,340.
That is an increase over the past two budget years. The 2012-13 budget totaled $243,840 in both revenues and expenditures and the 2011-12 budget totaled $240,710 in each of those categories.
Doolittle’s new budget shows an estimated $7,500 in sales taxes, which Smith estimated based on the new Dollar General store, which opened last month. Smith said the $7,500 is a low projection.
So how does Smith propose to spend the expected additional sales taxes?
Of the $7,500, a total of $5,000 will be spent on the city’s match for a new siren grant. The remaining $2,500 will go toward police salaries. Every other line item in the budget is the same as last year.
The board also approved budget amendments for the 2012-13 budget by a 5-0 vote. The budget amendments total $73,850 for increases to budgeted expenditures from the 2012-13 budget.
Among the amendments approved were increases to salaries.
Earl Link, a Doolittle resident who attended the June 10 board meeting, noted that in the 2012-13 budget, there was $12,000 budgeted for Police Chief Scott Jones’ salary, but the city ended up paying him $17,891.44.
However, Smith said when the budget was approved, Jones was working part-time. Jones said as of this month, he is back to working full time.
Doolittle resident Adam Emery, who also attended the meeting, said despite the board approving an additional $2,500 to police salaries in the new budget, that doesn’t take into account Jones working full time now.
“You know you’re going to spend more this year on having Scott full time so you should budget that money. You could do it a whole lot more accurately,” Emery said.
Smith said the budget is only a guideline and noted that the police fund could receive income than what is budgeted.
In other business
Also at the aldermen meeting, the board voted 5-0 to establish a separate phone line for the Doolittle Police Department and let Jones work out the details of how that would be accomplished with Smith guiding Jones.
Currently, to reach the police department, people call the main line for city hall. It was mentioned that a separate line for the police department could be forwarded to Jones’ cellphone or a duty cellphone carried by on the on-duty officer.
Page 2 of 2 - Doolittle City Hall is being renovated to give the police department and city clerk more room. The board of aldermen meetings have since been moved to the community center.
In a related matter, the board of aldermen approved a request by City Clerk Dene Kirn to move into a different room at city hall and have her research carpenters to put an opening in a wall to serve individuals who come to city hall.
Additionally the board approved by a vote 5-0 to order a new version of accounting software for Kirn, who estimated the new software should not cost more than $500.
At the end of the meeting, when Smith asked for any comments from attendees, one resident said she believes the board of aldermen and mayor should have term limits. The resident said she feels there is a stalemate on the board and added that she would like to see a younger generation on the board who can come up with newer ideas.