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Porterdale revenue, budget decrease
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The initial proposed 2012 budget for Porterdale anticipated a nearly 17 percent drop in revenue compared with the budget passed last year.

Porterdale's tax digest was reduced in the middle of its budget year, which follows the calendar year, leading the city in June to raise its property taxes, lay off a police officer and furlough all employees four hours a week. City officials preparing the budget presentation fear revenue will continue to fall this year.

"The budget (proposal) keeps the furloughs in all year," said City Clerk Judy Johnson.

Johnson and City Manager Bob Thomson built the proposal, and Thomson was prepared to present it to the City Council Dec. 5. However, only two councilors attended the meeting, meaning the council did not have enough members to conduct business.

The presentation was postponed until Monday at 6:30 p.m. and will be at City Hall. Councilors may change the proposal, and state law requires at least one public hearing on the final proposal before the council adopts it.

According to the proposal, property tax revenue was estimated to drop to about $215,000. The city estimated $300,000 in property tax revenue when considering the 2011 budget last winter, butthe annual county property reassessment completed last summer showed an overall drop in property value, which led to a plunge in revenue.

Tax revenue for next year was estimated at $649,000, and though property tax revenue was projected to be lower, fines and license and permit fees could compensate somewhat. Total revenue was estimated at $822,415, down from the $984,733 revenue estimated last year.

The Police Department's budget took the greatest hit when revenue estimates changed. One officer was laid off last winter, and another's position was left unfilled after he left for a new job last summer. The police are also subjected to the four-hour weekly furlough.

Last year's police budget was set at $540,187; this year's proposed police expenditure is $455,630, a nearly 16 percent reduction. General administration was set last year at $234,846; this year it was proposed to be $179,620.

Porterdale's two enterprise funds - the Sanitation Fund and the Water and Sewer Fund, both of which are separate from the general operating budget and are typically self-sustaining - were estimated to finish 2012 with small surpluses.

The city's net tax digest, which is the assessed value of all of its land, buildings and vehicles, has dropped by 43 percent in the last several years, from $28.8 million in 2007 to a little more than $16 million in 2011. The digest fell by 5.2 percent this year.

To offset those tax revenue losses, the city earlier this year raised its millage rate to 19.892 from 17.518, making it the highest rate in the county. However, the city also has the lowest assessment value per housing unit.