Officials: Canton budget work in progress
by Jessicah Peters
July 27, 2014 12:00 AM | 2678 views | 1 1 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While the Canton City Council has reviewed a preliminary budget, Chief Finance Officer Nathan Ingram anticipates changes and more discussions to come before the first budget public hearing Aug. 7.

The proposed $13 million general budget is an increase of about $1.6 million from 2014. The total budget of $38 million will take effect Oct. 1.

A budget review meeting is planned for the council Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. in the library at City Hall.

Ingram said there will be no cost of living adjustments or raises for city employees. However, the first draft of the budget shows a decrease in the city manager position’s salary from $206,000 to $172,200.

“Mr. Cummins’ salary for 2015 shows a reduction in health insurance and retirement,” Ingram said.

As for capital requests, the Canton Police Department seeks to add new vehicles to the fleet. According to the significant items list written by Ingram, the police department is asking for one detective vehicle at $35,000; four new patrol cars at $52,000 per car; four take home vehicles at $48,000 per car; and two code enforcement vehicles totaling $55,000 for both.

The Canton Fire Department has requested $24,000 for new equipment, and will also need to hire additional firefighters for the new fire station.

“Please be mindful that this is a work in progress and many of these items may change,” Ingram said Thursday. “We anticipate having a revised copy sometime next week before the public hearing. We will present the new budget to the council, then hold the public hearing.”

Mayor Gene Hobgood said the council will also need to discuss reducing the millage rate and, if a rollback is considered, about $600,000 would be cut from the budget. He said the city will see an increase of revenue of about 17 percent due to the tax digest.

“The budget is very preliminary so far. We’ve looked at a budget that includes somewhat of a wish list from the department heads,” Hobgood said. “There might be some trimming back and a reduction in the millage rate. We have to look at the overall picture of the tax revenue and the department heads’ needs.”

One of the projected expenses where the city sees an increase is health insurance because of the changes made in the Affordable Care Act, Ingram said. To cover insurance for City Council members, fees increased by about $10,000. Overall there is about a 13 percent increase in insurance across the board, costing about $104,000, according to the proposed budget.

“Employees will not see a change in rates, but the city is projected to pay about 3 to 5 percent more because of the new Affordable Care Act,” Ingram said.

More council discussions and public input will take place at the first budget public hearing at 6 p.m. Aug. 7 at Canton City Hall.

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July 27, 2014
What kind of take home car is $ 48,000?????
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