City budget tops $7 million

Holding a special meeting to approve its budget, the Oneonta City Council increased its 2016 proposed budget by 7.2 percent above the 2015 spending plan. That increase puts the balanced total at $7,404,300.

Anticipated revenues show several areas of projected growth. Reviewing major sources (outlined and rounded here as either double-digit percentages or more than $10,000) reveal alcohol beverage taxes at $120,000, which was shown as $800 in the 2015 budget. Liquor sales tax is estimated at $10,000, shown without a figure in the 2015 budget, and business licenses at $3,500, as opposed to zero for 2015.

Another significant revenue increase comes in rental tax (up $24,000 or 52.2 percent). Building permit projections show a 53.8-percent increase of $14,000 with motor vehicle sales tax up 30 percent to $13,000.

As for broad areas, six departments showed increases: library (3.5 percent to $277,500), police (8.4 percent to $1,479,700), fire (14.1 percent to $1,228, 700), contracted sanitation (18.7 percent to $291,000), park and recreation (38.5 percent to $550,550), and other total expenditures (52.9 percent to $318,250). Four categories reflect decreases: general government (-3.4 percent to $1,635,650), building inspection (-6.5 percent at $179,500), street department (-0.4 percent at $813,000), and debt service (-1.7 percent at $630,450).

Salaries and commensurate tax and retirement benefits lead the way in significant increases. General government has a 32.2- percent increase in salary (up $119,000 to $489,000) and a $34,000 increase in additional benefits. That $34,000 increase more than covers multi-year, static mayor and council salaries of $33,000. In general government, capital outlay shows a $228,200 decrease.

The only other departments where salaries increased more than 10 percent were fire at 11 percent and park and recreation at 70 percent. Building inspection salaries decline 16.67 percent but employee insurance increases 171 percent. Park and recreation also has a 100 percent or $10,000 increase in repairs and maintenance. Other total expenditures reflect an added $120,000 category of “general fund transfers to special funds.”

All council members (Mayor Ross Norris and councilors Hal Blackwood, Mark Gargus, Tim McNair, Danny Robinson, and Tonya Rogers) attended the Sept. 29 meeting. Robinson, whose key area of responsibility with the council is finance, thanked city manager Ed Lowe, city employees, and the council for their input, work, and cooperation in preparing and approving the plan.