12/07/08 — Goldsboro calls special council meeting

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Goldsboro calls special council meeting

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 7, 2008 2:00 AM

The Goldsboro City Council will hold a special meeting Monday at 3 p.m. in the large conference room at the City Hall Addition to discuss the budget and how Stoney Creek Park and the Community Recreation Center fit into the finances.

The council learned last Monday that the city might see budget shortfalls of more than $2.2 million at the end of this fiscal year.

But, said city Finance Director Kaye Scott, that is only if the economy remains down and trends continue as they have the last few months.

Overall, a $931,349 shortfall might occur in the general fund, and a $1,360,897 shortfall may occur in the utility fund.

The shortages, Ms. Scott explained, are not because the city's expenditures are up, but rather because of a lack of revenue.

The bulk of the lack in revenue in the general fund will come from a decline in sales tax receipts, a number that Ms. Scott said will be down 4.2 percent according to a 2008 report by the National League of Cities.

Property tax revenues also are down 3.6 percent, according to the National League of Cities report, Ms. Scott said, leaving the city short an estimated $421,576.

Additionally, she continued, the city's other revenue sources, including investments, Powell Bill funds and other fees are coming in less than expected.

Utility revenues, water and sewer, also are on the decline.

However, despite expecting to see $1.77 million less in the general fund and $1.49 million less in the utility fund come the end of the fiscal year in June, Ms. Scott is hopeful that money-saving measures already implemented will help keep the shortfalls under control.

So far the City Council has decided to freeze capital items, the hiring of non-essential personnel and the hiring for new positions. It's also asked department heads to trim their expenditures. The council also has discussed increasing service fees and examining the use of its fund balances in more detail.

Huffman also has said that some of the city's projects, like the Community Recreation Center and Stoney Creek Park, are going to have to be looked at in detail -- the reason for Monday's special meeting.

"I'm sure the council is going to take a look at everything, and make sure that they can move forward before they do so," he said last week. "I think we are at a good point where we haven't committed resources where we can't make adjustments.

The important thing, though, he said, will be measuring the short-term against long-term impacts of any decision.