Pubdate: Wed, 21 Aug 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author: Deangelo McDaniel
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


HARTSELLE -- Those non-profit and charitable organizations that receive 
funding from the city of Hartselle will not see an increase in the city's 
new budget.

"It looks like it's going to be level funding," Mayor Clif Knight said.

Representatives for groups like the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce and 
Hartselle Beautification requested modest increases, but revenue is not 

The exception will be the city school system. The council has said during 
budget hearings that it likely will increase the school system's funding 
from $46,569.29 to $54,463.34.

Superintendent Lee Hartsell said the school system would use the money to 
help defray the cost of a drug-testing program the board will start Oct. 1.

In addition to the appropriation, the City Council will spend about $1 
million on bond payments for the system.

The council must sign a contract with Terrell Industries to continue 
funding for the non-profit organization.

Terrell provides a sheltered work environment for people with special needs.

About three years ago, the city agreed to give the company $1,000 annually 
if Terrell would move an old cotton wagon outside the city limits. The 
wagon collected aluminum cans that the company turned into case to cover 
operating expenses.

Knight said Terrell is a private company and that the city cannot give 
money to private companies, unless the company is contracted to provide a 
service for Hartselle.

Terrell threatened to move the wagon back in town last year when the 
council cut its appropriation from $1,000 to $900.

Councilman Frank Jones said the city's revenue flow has remained steady for 
the past four to five years but expenses have increased.

The councilman added: "If something doesn't change, Hartselle will go away. 
We're at the crossroads. It's frustrating during budget time."

Unplanned Expenditures

Unexpected expenditures will consume the $113,000 net income increase the 
councilmen thought they would have in the budget they are working on for 
the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

The council is budgeting $25,000 for the wet-dry election in November; 
$40,000 for the 15 percent increase in the city's insurance premium and 
$6,000 for retired employees cost of living raises.

Raises for city employees could cost between $30,000 and $85,000, depending 
on the percentage increase the council approves for cost of living. The 
council may have to trim department funding to balance the budget, Knight said.
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