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June 19, 2013

City’s budgets in works

Financial director: Too early to compare numbers with 2012

Athens — The various City of Athens Departments are working on their preliminary budgets in preparation for the coming crunch of the numbers.

In 2012-2013, the city budgeted $15,462,939 for expenditures, which included more than $1.26 million for street upkeep and repairs.

City Financial Director David Hopkins said it’s too early to tell if the city will budget an equal amount this year.

“The department heads are working on their budgets right now,” Hopkins said. “I distributed their packets to them at the end of May.”

Hopkins said the departmental budget requests should be coming back to his office somewhere around the end of June. Knowing how much money the city will have to spend will take a little longer.

“A lot of the timing revolves around the property tax numbers, which the Appraisal District will certify to us on July 25,” Hopkins said.

In August, City Administrator Pam Burton will present the proposed budget to the City Council, who’ll go over the line items and vote on final adoption. The city fiscal year differs from Henderson County, which follows the calendar year. The city budget goes into effect on Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30.

The general fund portion of the budget for 2012-2013 is $9,468,429 and has increased each of the past five years. The 2013 total of all expense funds, including general fund, utilities, debt service, community improvement, airport fund and capital projects was the highest ever for the city.

Unlike Henderson County, a big portion of the City of Athens funding comes from sales-tax revenues. The sales-tax amount estimated by the city to fund the current budget is $3,466,000. In 2013, the city is running about 10 percent above 2012 in sales-tax allocations.

Fire Services account for more than 25 percent of the current general fund expenses, totaling $2,382,190. Fire department operations are the largest piece of the document.

Next comes Athens Police Department functions, with expenses divided into administration, investigation and patrol. Administration is $273,114 of the APD budget. Patrol expenses  are $1,488,494 in 2013. Investigations accounted for $510,020 in the proposed budget.

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