The Alexandria Aldermen adopted the city's new budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year on first reading Tuesday night.
Second and final reading passage will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on Tuesday, August 23 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.
The city's property tax rate is established at .7896 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The budget includes higher water and sewer rates. A separate ordinance adopting the new rates was approved by the aldermen following a public hearing, prior to action on the budget ordinance.
Under the plan, the minimum bill for Alexandria water and sewer customers will increase by a total of ten dollars per month, going from $29.50 to $39.50.
The rate for Alexandria water customers will increase from $14.75 to $19.75 for a minimum bill up to 2,000 gallons. Customers will pay an extra 70 cents per additional 100 gallons of usage. The minimum sewer bill up to 2,000 gallons will also increase by $5.00, going from $14.75 to $19.75.
Water customers outside the corporate limits will see their rates jump from $21.30 to $28.52 per month for a minimum bill of up to 2,000 gallons. Customers will pay an extra 70 cents per additional 100 gallons of usage per month.
The City of Alexandria purchases its water supply from the Smith County Utility District.
City officials have said one of the reasons for the rate increase is due to higher costs being passed on to Alexandria from the Smith County Utility District. However during the public hearing, concerned resident and former Alexandria Mayor Danny Parkerson questioned why the rate of increase to city subscribers was much more than the increase to the city from the Smith County Utility District.
Aldermen explained that the city water and sewer fund has been running in the red for the last two or three years because there hasn't been a rate increase for sometime, and that the state is now forcing the city's hand. Aldermen said if the city does not get the water and sewer fund back in the black to make it self supporting soon, then the state could set rates for the city, which could be much higher than the rate increases in this plan.
Parkerson also suggested that some action be taken by the city to lessen the burden of this rate increase on the town's elderly who are on fixed incomes. Aldermen said later they may address that suggestion at another meeting in the near future.
The Alexandria budget projects General Fund Revenues at $323,404 including $80,546 from current property taxes; $11,000 from delinquent property taxes; and $24,000 from the beer tax along with intergovernmental taxes of $60,000; licenses and permits $500; fines $72,000; Utility in lieu of tax $9,358; other revenue $1,000; and remaining revenue $65,000
General Fund expenditures are budgeted at $316, 404 as follows:
Administrative salaries: $32,032
Election expense: $2,000
Insurance & security bond: $12,000
Office supplies: $5,000
Park & recreation: $600
Equipment & supplies: $5,000
Building maintenance: $7,000
Senior citizens civic center: $5,000
Unemployment taxes: $6,000
Utilities & telephone $4,000
Gas & Oil: $15,000
Office supplies: $3,000
Materials & supplies: $500
Vehicle maintenance: $8,000
Equipment & supplies: $7,000
Grant match: $5,000
Gas & Oil: $1,000
Total General Fund Expenditures: $316,404
Industrial Development Fund
Other expenses: $15,632
State Aid Fund Budget:
State Gasoline & Fuel Tax: $42,000
Automobile expense & gas: $3,000
Materials & supplies: $3,000
Payroll expenses: $300
Equipment repair: $1,000
Purchase of equipment: $4,000
Water and sewer fund operating revenues are projected at $577,632. Total operating expenses are budgeted at $532,551
Water/Sewer Fund Operating Revenues
Other Income: $6,600
Office Supplies: $5,500
Water Supplies: $19,000
Water Samples: $480
USDA Bonds: $26,000
Annual dues: $2,000
Utilities (Gas, Electric, Phone): $47,000
Water Purchased: $234,243
Bad debts (returned checks): $1,500
Sewer supplies: $11,000
Sewer samples: $11,000
Professional services (Accountant, Attorney): $12,000
Postage (General, Bills): $4,000
Contracted services: $83,422
Contracted labor: $25,000