As of now, the City of Murray is expected to have its expenses outnumber its revenue when it comes to general fund portion to its fiscal year 2021 budget.
However, as is the case with seemingly everything else in the world these days, it is not known if this, in fact, will be the final case. As City it Murray Director of Finance Kim Wyatt explained in a Thursday afternoon meeting of the city council’s Personnel and Finance Committee, there have been some cases in the past where losses were projected, only for surpluses to result.
“We would hope that would be the case,” said Mayor Bob Rogers, who oversaw the meeting that was centered out of the City Council Chambers inside City Hall and did include several council members in person, while others chose to maintain COVID-19 social distancing and were involved with the meeting from off site. All council members at City Hall wore masks.
The bottom line is that as of now, projected receipts of $12.9 million will be offset by projected expenses of $14.6 million. However, the city does have a saving grace in the form of about $6 million in carryover dollars for this year, which actually increases available revenue to $19.3.
Wyatt said the expenses probably could have been even higher.
“When we were preparing for this, we were going with an idea of prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and what that did was it helped keep our expenses down,” she said.
This meeting also was coming a day after Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that $300 million in funding from the CARES Act that Congress passed at the end of March would begin going to city and county governments across the commonwealth. That was expected to begin Thursday and the money is slated to reimburse local governments for expenses accrued from the pandemic. The Kentucky Department of Local Government will administer those funds, Beshear said on Wednesday.
Rogers said that in recent weeks, several people have been engaged in determining the numbers in this budget. He said he, Wyatt and City Administrator Jim Osborne had been meeting on and off for several months and then began going to various city department heads to obtain their wish lists for the upcoming year, as well as their predictions for what would need to be spent for those items.
One of the first items Rogers mentioned was a proposed 2% increase in city employees’ salaries. This went for both the police and fire departments as well, with $111,000 being transferred from the police budget to the 911 budget.
Capital expenditures will include $100,000 to pay for new police vehicles in the upcoming year.
Rogers said the fire department asked for $31,000 in automated external defibrillators, which are designed to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
Rogers also talked about the city’s reserve budget and how it is geared mainly for possible future endeavors. That budget contains $1 million, Rogers said, and $200,000 is now available for the acquisition of future fire equipment and Rogers said hopes are for the city to form a schedule of replacing vehicles every 10-12 years.
The city already has $500,000 in its possession after obtaining a community block development grant last year, which is designed for the construction of a new fire station. Rogers said another $500,000 is being reserved in the general fund and that will help with the construction as well.
The budget also addresses obligations, such as the $500,000 it committed in 2017 for the pursuit of the federal BUILD grant that eventually led to both the city and Calloway County governments winning that grant and more than $23 million for the expansion of U.S. 641 South.
In Fiscal Year 2021, $200,000 will be due after $100,000 was due this year.
In addition, Rogers said about $500,000 will be available in Fiscal Year 2021 for sidewalk work.