Loyall addresses declining revenue, tightens belts

Jeff Phillips Staff Writer

January 14, 2014

Loyall Mayor Clarence Longworth had a recurring message for city employees during Monday night’s monthly council meeting — “tighten your belt” and “save every penny” you can.

The statements came after Mandy Longworth, the city’s financial officer, gave a detailed report on changing revenues over the past six months. Most of the funds reflected slight to drastic reductions.

The city’s property tax income has fallen by 2.4 percent; automobile tax by 22 percent; Telecom tax by 3.9 percent; insurance tax premium by 35.3 percent; overall taxes by 24.5 percent; sewer fees by 5.7 percent; CSX tax by 80.3 percent; franchise fees by 27.9 percent; highway safety grant by 17 percent; rent by 33.6 percent; concessions by 41.8 percent; and garbage fees by .8 percent.

Incomes increased in donations by 46.7 percent ($2,213.65 to $3,246.91); fire subscriptions by 4.3 percent; and business privilege licenses by 9.9 percent.

She gave the council some good news, saying many areas of the city’s budgeted expenses are down for the same time period.

Declines were reported in wages, motor fuel usage, uniforms, chemicals, postage, bonds, dues and subscriptions, office supplies, janitorial supplies and several other categories. Expenses increased in several areas, including a drastic jump of 137 percent for workers’ compensation.

While the electric bills decreased for the administrative portion of the budget, there was a substantial increase in the sewer department and street light categories for electrical use.

With some repairs to city hall, maintenance showed a large jump, as did sewer supplies and the fire department vehicle and building.

Sewer equipment and parts showed significant decreases, with no purchases of sewer equipment reported to date.

In another item of discussion, a water problem along Church Street in Black Bottom was addressed.

Council member Trenna Cornett said the road is washing out where she believes there to be a blockage in the culvert tile to be a blocked culvert.

The mayor said he felt problems had been occurring in the area since the airport runway extension project, adding that he will discuss the problem with Magistrate Delbert Stephens.

Council adopted the annual compensation for the mayor and council, leaving the rates at $7,200 per year for the mayor and $600 per year for council members.

Police Chief Mike Lunsford gave his report for December, noting 28 complaints received, 37 citations, 23 arrests, three assists, one domestic and 21 warrants served.

Lunsford’s annual report reflected 522 complaints, 427 citations, three assaults, 137 arrests, 63 assists, five domestic disputes, 92 warrants served; four accidents and four burglaries investigated and 14 theft reports.

In other action council:

  • Approved minutes from the December meeting.
  • Accepted the financial report.
  • Approved department head reports for police, fire, sewer and streets.
  • Agreed to compile a list for surplussing of fire coats, helmets and other unusable items.
  • Learned the mayor and fire chief are working on a long term control plan for prioritizing needs and looking at purchasing two sets of turnout gear each year.
  • Heard the fire department is ordering fire hose and gloves.
  • Heard a brief presentation from Spencer Bailey, a Democrat who is running for magistrate in the fifth district.