South Lee towns prep for budget process

SHANNON – A shaky economy is not good news for south Lee County towns trying to finalize budgets.
Board of Aldermen in Verona, Shannon, Plantersville and Nettleton are in the process of setting the town’s budgets for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Each town has its own set of financial needs but each has the same problem of money being scarce.
In Shannon, Mayor Ronnie Hallmark said the town will probably have to increase last year’s $1.3 million budget in order to get a new town hall built. The town is applying for a small grant to help with the cost.
“Whether we get the grant or not we are going to probably go on and build,” said Hallmark. “Our building was built in the ’50s and it’s outdated. These are tough financial times, so we will be careful with our money. Everything is going up – fuel, electricity and everything else. We just have to manage well.”
Verona Mayor Bobby Williams said his town is planning on building a new public works building and also hopes to receive the small municipality grant. Most of Verona’s budget is taken up by the police and fire department.
“We are not going to raise taxes so we are going to stress to department heads to stay within their budgets,” said Williams. “That’s not easy for the police and fire department, so we’ll have to see how it goes. I don’t see much of an increase from last year’s budget.”
Verona’s 2010-2011 budget was $2.8 million, according to Williams.
Plantersville officials are planning a $450,000 water project next year but hope a grant will pay for it. Their budget in 2010 was $1.5 million.
In Nettleton, Mayor R.V. Adams said the new budget will be a tight one.
“We are probably going to have tight budgets for the next two years or at least until this economy turns around,” said Adams. “We are not going to raise taxes but there will be no big purchases either. We don’t want to go into debt no more than we already are.”
All city budgets will have to be finalized by Sept. 15.
danza.johnson@journalinc.com

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal