05/12/05 — City Council looks for ways to reduce budget

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City Council looks for ways to reduce budget

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 12, 2005 1:54 PM

Goldsboro councilmen tried this morning to find items to cut in the 2005-06 budget to avoid or lessen a proposed property tax hike.

The council members looked at the budgets for the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation and the travel and tourism department. They questioned the need for new fire and garbage trucks.

Does the city get enough from PACC-10? Why have revenues fallen at the golf course?

Council members hope to be able to trim the $41 million budget enough to lower a proposed five-cent raise in the city's property tax rate. The budget would need to be cut by $174,000 for every penny dropped from the rate.

City property owners will get a chance to weigh in Monday. The City Council has called a 7 p.m. hearing on the budget.

At press time, the council had not ordered any cuts. One thing they had reached a consensus on was the bathhouse at Mina Weil Park.

Councilman Jackie Warrick said that he visited the park after it was discussed during Monday's budget work session. "It's in deplorable shape. The roof is falling in. ... That needs to be fixed this year, not next."

Recreation Director Neil Bartlett had asked for $115,000 to replace the bathhouse, but City Manager Joe Huffman had not included it in his budget request.

Replacing the bathhouse would require the pool to be closed this summer, Bartlett said. Council members did not want to take that step.

"Why should the children down there not have a place to swim this summer?," Warrick said.

Councilman Chuck Allen added, "Something needs to be done about this now. We are telling people to clean up their properties, but our looks as bad as anything out there."

As it did last year, the City Council had questions about what services the city receives from PACC-10 for its $33,000 contract. The company broadcasts city meetings and events.

But some council members have said that PACC-10 does some of those broadcasts as part of a separate contract with Time-Warner Cable to fulfill the cable outlet's franchise agreement. The city's money should pay for extra services.

City department heads noted several things that PACC-10's owner, Bobby Parker, had done on their behalf. For example, he tapes and broadcasts the Center Street Jams, said Julie Thompson of the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation. He also produces the "Downtown Living" show.

PACC-10 has produced an employee orientation video, said Human Resources Director Rick Roberson.

In regards to the golf course, revenues have declined over the past two years, Bartlett said. That is partially due to poor weather during winter months, but there's also been a national trend of less play, he said. Recently, though, the trend has been toward more play.

Bartlett believes the golf course can be self-sufficient within a few years.

Monday's public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in the council's chambers, Goldsboro City Hall, 214 N. Center St. It will be televised live on PACC-10 (Channel 10 on Time-Warner Cable).