Article Comment 

West Point faces shortfall

 

Jason Browne

 

WEST POINT -- Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in budget slashes, West Point still faces a $300,000 deficit. 

 

City Accountant Lisa Klutts presented a finance overview, explaining the city had enough cash flow to pay its expenses for the remainder of the fiscal year, but a $300,000 deficit remains from a shortfall in sales taxes for fiscal year 2010. 

 

The deficit was trimmed to $300,000 from about $700,000 because of the board''s decision to cut insurance benefits by 15 percent ($100,000 in savings), raise sanitation fees by $4 each month ($80,000), transfer employees to the Water and Light Department ($30,000), switch prisoner transport services ($28,200) and cut holiday pay ($7,500). The remainder of the money was saved via a city spending freeze and various small cuts. 

 

More savings could come if the board hires Vaughn Blaylock of Southern Procurement Services, who addressed the board Monday, to implement a new purchasing system for city supplies. 

 

 

 

Saving on salaries 

 

"You''ll see savings from a real cost perspective and soft cost through (employees'') saving time," said Blaylock. 

 

The city could save as much as 14 percent on purchases, he said. 

 

The city also found how to make more money to fulfill a 10-year-old obligation. 

 

Sewer and water rates are slated to increase, although a solid amount or date has yet to be determined. The excess funds will be used to pay for eight sewage projects to provide city service to 60 homes annexed by the city in 1998. A public hearing will be held in about a month after engineering surveys. City officials predict the increase will be implemented in May. 

 

City Administrator Randy Jones notified the board its previous decision to cancel a contract with North Mississippi Utility Service, a meter-reading service, would cost the city thousands more to provide the service itself. The service would cost the city more than $20,000 more if a truck were bought for the job. 

 

 

 

Contract obligations 

 

The city is still under contract with North Mississippi Utility Service. The board had intended to send a letter notifying the company of West Point''s plan to pass on renewal, but that decision may be reversed at the Feb. 9 meeting. 

 

The only action the board took was to approve buying more than $200,000 in playground equipment and landscaping for East Side Elementary. The money will be drawn from a separate account containing $240,000 originally donated in stock by the Dugan family, owners of Dugan Memorial Care Home in West Point, to East Side. 

 

In other business, the board gave tentative approval for Jones to advertise for openings for an accountant/office manager at the Water and Light Department, an electric superintendent, a purchasing agent, a receiving clerk and a lineman. Selectmen will have a chance to review the job descriptions and voice any concerns.

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment j commented at 1/26/2010 8:59:00 PM:

Well surprise surprise..What did you expect from this group of clowns. By the time they are finished there won't be anything left of our town. But those good ole boys will walk away fit and fat. But atleast they will be gone. Somebody help West Point, please.

 

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