Presented with a preliminary copy of their 2013-2014 budget at a recent meeting, members of the Lynch City Council began looking at ways to run the city on a much leaner budget.
“We’ve had declining revenues the two years I have been here and really the last three years,” said Financial Officer Bill Dean. “We’ve lost 50 water bill customers. We now have only 320 customers paying water bills at an average of $75 per month, which brings in approximately $2,400 per month or $28,800 per year. This is the revenue story of this budget, which means we’ll have to be careful about stuff we use such as fuel and that sort of thing. We have to make sure we can meet the revenues.”
Dean said the city’s revenues “drive everything else in the budget.”
“We’ve got what we’ve got and we’re going to have to learn how to live on what we have,” said Dean. “Some of the reasons for our loss of water customers is people moving away from Lynch and some of it is the aging community. The population is just not increasing.”
With recent coal mining lay-offs and mine closures across the county, Dean said it has affected the economy in the Lynch area as well as across the county.
“We have people who are miners living here in Lynch,” said Dean. “They are struggling right now. Probably not as bad as the rest of the county, but the whole county is really struggling. You can just look around — read the newspaper — the school board cuts $1.8 million and fiscal court cuts over a half million dollars. Our coal severance comes from the same pool they have. It’s the same for us. I presented this preliminary budget so council members can see if there is anything they want to change and let me know. If they don’t tell me any changes, I’ll just put this budget in an ordinance form and we’ll have the first reading at our next meeting in June.”
In other council actions:
A meeting was held today in London regarding phase two of the Brownsfield Grant the city applied for to refurbish the old clinic building in Lynch.
“There are three phases to this grant,” said Dean. “The first phase is submission of the grant where they determine if it’s in the range of what they will do. Phase two is after they look at the report from phase one, they come in and specifically set out to find out what is wrong and needs to be repaired on the property or building. They will then budget the project and determine the costs. Phase three is the city will receive the grant funds.”
Local resident Stanley Sturgill approached the council asking the city to make repairs to a road above his home which is sliding toward his home. After a lengthy discussion, council members agreed to look at the costs of placing gabion baskets in the area to hold the road in place and keep it from sliding.
Mayor Johnnie Adams added there are several roads and streets in the city which need repairs, however, without funds to make those repairs “they may have to wait.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, email@example.com