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Posted: April 19, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Newborn town budget finally approved for 2009

New budget $46,000 less than 2008 budget

The Newborn Town Council finally approved its 2009 calendar year budget after months of discussion and uncertainty. Councilwoman Suzanne Bean said the $297,342.92 budget wasn’t passed until March 16 because of council members’ differing opinions and uncertainty about how the economy would affect the city’s revenue, particularly property taxes.

"We were trying to evaluate what the economy was going to do and what we were going to be able to cut back," Bean said. "We’ve been looking at this budget for months, but we couldn’t agree primarily on some of the cut backs we needed to make."

Bean said the council also had a "frustrating" time trying to get all five council members together for the same meeting, which delayed the process. Newborn was able to operate without a 2009 budget, because the town has an ordinance that allows it to use the previous year’s budget on a month-by-month basis until a new budget is passed.

Bean said she and another council member didn’t want to pass a budget until March 16, because they knew whatever revenues numbers they wrote down would have to be adjusted in the future anyway.

The budget is $46,000 smaller that the 2008 budget and Bean said the budget has no "fluff."

"That was one grueling process this year," she said. "We were looking at our figures and cut everything back as skinny as we could get it."

Some of the biggest cuts were in the areas of overtime pay and equipment purchases, she said.

"If we can’t get it done in the eight-hour day, we’ll just have to get it done the next day," she said. "And as far as small equipment, the guys will just have to work on the equipment (they have) all the time."

The town has not decided if it will change the millage rate, but it will continue to discuss the situation with Tax Commissioner Barbara Dingler.

In other news the council approved a new town ordinance to begin paying the mayor and council members in fiscal year 2010. The mayor will be paid $100 per month and the council members will be paid $75 per month.

Bean said the pay is mainly a symbolic gesture that might help cover some of the gasoline costs.

"We’re probably one of the few municipalities where the council and mayor are not paid anything, and there’s a lot of service put into this position, especially by this administration," Bean said. "We’ve worked very hard to gets things accomplished, and we’ve spent a lot of hours."


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