Council members discussed the budget during a two-hour work session Friday. City Clerk Kathy Chambless presented the council with a copy of the city’s general fund budget, which is a little more than $17 million. She said the general fund balance at the end of the fiscal year is expected to be around $150,000.
“I sent the budget to all our department managers to make sure it looked good,” Chambless said. “There are no new positions in this budget, even though a couple of department heads have requested a new position be created.”
Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe was at Friday’s work session and asked council members to approve a new position for the police department. Rowe said one of her officers is currently working full-time with a federal agency. She said the agency is expected to repay Jasper for the officer’s time, but she has had to take him out of the patrol division. Rowe asked the council to create one new position to fill that spot.
“I currently have 60 employees, and I’m asking you to give me 61,” Rowe said. “I need to replace him in my building. I’ve got folks stretched pretty thin right now.”
Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said he didn’t expect any positions to be added at this time.
“This budget is pretty tight,” he said. “We need to stick to what we have for now, but we can re-evaluate once the additional sales tax starts coming in.”
The 1-percent sales tax increase, which was approved by the council earlier this week, is expected to begin on March 1, but Chambless said the city will not receive funds from the increase until April 20.
Despite not adding any new positions, the budget presented on Friday does include a 2.5 percent step raise for city employees. Chambless said there are no pay increases for part-time employees included in the budget.
Since Oct. 1, the city has been operating on a temporary budget that was approved to give the newly-elected council time to put together the budget, Posey said.
“We started working on this budget in November,” he said. “We didn’t want to do anything before the election.”
The council is expected to approve the budget at its regularly scheduled meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The meeting will take place in the council’s meeting chambers on the second floor of Jasper City Hall.