By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
Halfway through the fiscal year, Fulton’s budget is looking good, despite a few unexpected expenses.
During their recent board meeting, city officials voted to amend the county’s $10.01 million budget to cover more than $33,000 in unexpected expenses. These amendments were spread across multiple departments and were, according to Fulton City Clerk Lisa Russell, unavoidable.
Each fiscal year, Russell looks at the previous budget and estimates the city’s revenue, which is mostly based on property and sales taxes and expenses. Much like a personal budget, when unexpected expenses crop up throughout the year — an air conditioner breaks down, a roof needs replacing, a vehicle needs to be repaired — city officials have to shift money around to cover the costs.
According to Russell, Fulton’s department heads have been doing an admirable job of staying within the confines of their individual budgets this year. But, just like at home, sometimes unplanned expenses pop up.
“Our departments are doing a good job of managing their budgets,” Russell said. “Most of these expenses are things they couldn’t plan for … not extravagant spending.”
Some of the amendments made to the budget include $4,100 to the city’s financial department for a new security system for downtown’s Playgarden Park; an additional $5,900 to the police department for new equipment for a police cruiser; $2,000 to the fire department for new generators; $1,000 to the Itawamba County Pratt Memorial Library for heating and cooling repairs; $2,500 to parks and recreation department for new doors for buildings at city park; and $13,350 to the sewer department to run sewer lines to a new customer.
But it’s not all bad news: In addition to moving money around to cover these unexpected expenses, aldermen also voted to amend the city’s revenue by more than $33,575 due to several unplanned sources of income. The largest of these amendments to the city’s revenue was an addition of $23,475 to the city’s general fund. Russell said not to get too excited, however: That money isn’t income, just a bit of budgetary shuffling. When the city closed out its work on the Tenn-Tom Trails walking track and addition to Max Home, there was money left over. That money was just rolled back into the budget.
“That’s not really new money coming in; that’s just money that was left over when these projects closed out,” Russell explained. “We moved that money back into the general fund.”
Even so, that’s money city officials planned to spend on one project which can now be used to cover some of those unplanned expenses, helping keep the budget on track. Halfway through the year, the city has spent around 49 percent of its total budget.
“Even with the few expenses that we’ve had to amend, our revenue has more than made up for it,” Russell said.