Church Hill approves 2020-21 budget with $718K surplus

Jeff Bobo • May 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM

CHURCH HILL — Mayor Dennis Deal and longtime Alderman Linda Miller said Tuesday the proposed 2020-21 budget the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved on first reading Tuesday is one of they best they’ve ever been presented.

The new budget is projected to absorb an 8% increase in employee health insurance, and an across the board 50-cent-per-hour pay increase for employees, but is still projected to end with an $718,000 surplus.

As if that weren’t enough good news, the current 2019-20 fiscal year budget is expected to end with a little more than $1 million in surplus, not including the $1.6 million that carries over to cover the cost of Phase 1 of the Holliston Mills park project.

The city is projected to end the current fiscal year with an undesignated fund balance of $3.44 million.

According to City Recorder Josh Russell, the 2019-20 budget laid out $5.336 million in expenditures, but the city is expected to spend only $2.675 million, which leaves it operating in the black to the tune of $2.661 million.

“That includes the $1.6 million that’s set aside for the Holliston Park project, which will carry over to next year’s budget,” Russell told the Times News Wednesday. “So in reality, it’s only about $1.061 million that we’re ending the current fiscal year in the black.”

Russell added, “One reason our expenditures have been so low is we’ve kept some capital projects on hold. You've got COVID-19 going around. Things like that. We wanted to go very conservative this year in light of COVID-19. There’s a big question mark, obviously, for local governments on revenues. We want to be very conservative because we don’t know what’s going to happen in future if there’s another round (of shutdowns).”

There also weren’t any major expenditure increases projected in the 2020-21 budget.

Aside from the projects underway at Derrick Park and the new park off Holliston Mills Road, there are no other major capital outlay projects or equipment purchases in the new budget.

Deal noted, however, that the city is still shopping for a bucket truck, and vacancies in the recreation department and sewer department still need to be filled. If those issues are resolved at some point in 2020-21, there will have to be a budget amendment.

Church Hill’s separate 2020-21 sewer budget is projected to end $177,000 in the black.

“We’ve had a fantastic year,” Deal said during Tuesday’s BMA meeting. “It looks like we’re finishing up in the black with a $718,000 surplus. We really tried to stay focused and watch people’s money, and that’s a great thing. … We try to be good stewards to the taxpayers’ money, and that’s what we’re here for. We got requests from departments for about $175,000 and we were able to do that. We had about $60,000 we donated to outside organizations in this budget. That’s a huge number for this city. Aside from that, we’ve still got $1.6 million appropriated for the park at Holliston Mills.”

Deal added, “I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again. The city of Church Hill has really been blessed by the Good Lord. It’s not me. It’s not the board. He blessed this city and I just want to thank Him for that.”

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