Council workshop focuses on proposed 2019 budget

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Eureka Springs City Council met with Mayor Butch Berry and finance director Lonnie Clark on Monday afternoon to discuss the city’s proposed 2019 budget. Clark said the proposed budget looks good on his end.

“I think it’s a really conservative and very good budget myself,” Clark said. “When you look through everything, there are a lot of increases.”

The estimated revenues for 2019 are $9,723,325 and the estimated appropriations are $8,776,706, with $946,619 left over. Clark said he’s rearranged some items in the proposed budget, like parking.

“In the past, we’d have to pay sales tax on the parking, so the sales tax would show up as a credit in the red,” Clark said. “Because we’ve put the parking system online, we’ve transferred that over to a line item and expense for the sales tax on the parking. We’re trying not to split it up so much.”

Berry said the proposed budget continues ongoing trends.

“We’re pretty much still where we were last year,” Berry said.

Alderman Bob Thomas asked what the fire department did to come under budget this year, and Clark said the department cut down on salaries and overtime.

“That’s because of some retirements, and some higher paid people moved out,” Clark said. “Some lower paid people moved in. If you look at their overtime, that’s down considerably.”

That had been a problem in the past, Clark said.

“At least since I’ve been here, the overtime was just rampant,” Clark said. “It was always an issue. I know there’s been a lot of discussion on that.”

Berry said the bulk of the fire department’s budget — and any budget — is personnel.

“They’re about 10 percent below their budget from last year,” Berry said. “Both the fire department and police have been real good about watching their budgets. This is going on the second or third year they’ve had access to their budget, so they can see what they’re doing.”

Clark said the city is seeing better interest rates in general, and alderman Terry McClung said he’s pleased with the proposed budget.

“If we pull that off, I’ll be happy,” McClung said.

McClung suggested having another workshop in January to continue discussing the proposed budget, and the council agreed to do so.

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