A first reading of the 2014-2015 budget was conducted at Monday night’s Leitchfield City Council meeting. A second reading will follow at the next schedule city council meeting in mid-June. At that time, the council will vote on whether to approve the proposed budget.
Mayor Thomason’s statement to the Leitchfield City Council regarding the new budget proposal:
The budget committee and our department heads have worked diligently on this budget to find ways to continue to offer services while working with a shortage of revenue. When the committee received their first copy of the budget, there was an approximate $101, 000.00 deficit for them to resolve. After meeting with the department heads and analyzing the city’s needs, our budget quickly became an even larger deficit of approximately $770,000.00. At that point, the Budget Committee, department heads and myself began the process of cutting the budget to achieve a balanced budget. Every line item of every department was thoroughly researched and in the end, unfortunately, there was no department untouched by budget cuts. For the first time since 2007, I propose to you a balanced budget with a proposed net income of $9,984.00.
Our City Government was fortunate to be able to proceed with projects this past year that had been delayed for several years due to budget cuts. These projects include improvements to Embry Brothers Drive, Shaw Station Road and old Brandenburg Railroad crossing. I am also delighted to acknowledge that the much anticipated Leitchfield Aquatic Center is opening soon through the efforts and dedication of the Tourism Commission and work has also begun to expand Beville Park. We have decided to move forward this year with a few projects and investments in order to meet citizen needs and maintain our equipment and departments. This year’s budget includes improvements to Shull White Road and Shaw Station Road, improvements to Beville Park, new equipment for the Public Works Department, and two new vehicles for the Police Department. We believe these projects and investments are crucial to continue operations and provide a safe environment for our citizens.
I would like to thank the council for their dedication to our community. We have spent several years searching for areas to reduce costs and unfortunately, we are faced with decisions of increasing revenue or reducing services. I believe and support our council in not reducing services that our citizens have come to rely on.
While I believe we have a sound budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the City Council, the department heads, employees and I continue to have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. This budget will require every effort to maintain, and I urge all of our departments to continue to seek cost saving avenues for our community and to spend their budget dollars prudently.
The City of Leitchfield has traditionally set a high standard of employment and strives to maintain that level of commitment to our employees. As you know, the cost of healthcare is continually on the rise, and we are not exempt from this expense. This year’s budget reflects a significant increase in the cost of health insurance in order to offer our employees this benefit. This benefit we provide allows us to continue to offer competitive jobs in our community. Our employees are a vital component of the essential services we offer. Through the last several years, our employees have done a great deal of sacrificing and continue to do more with less in order to maintain our level of services. This has been our method of survival through the years and our employees have done a tremendous job. I would like to take this time to thank them for their continued dedication to our organization.
I sincerely appreciate all the effort and hard work that went into creating this budget. I truly hope that you will adopt this proposed budget without substantial changes so that we can continue to offer the services our residents rely on, as well as maintain our community at the high standards that is expected of us.