Budget ups festival funding, offers raise

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By Kristin Beck

Funds for the river walk and splash park have not yet been included in the city’s preliminary 2013-2014 fiscal year budget, but should be added soon. Other highlighted items include new city entrance signs, a larger Fourth of July festival and a 3 percent pay increase for all city employees.

Mayor Gene McMurry and members of city council met with department heads March 12-13 to discuss their 2012-2013 amended budgets, as well as their preliminary 2013-2014 budgets. Councilmembers Robb Adams, Mike Gordon and Dwight Louden were present for meetings with administration, Carrollton Police Department and Code Enforcement March 12. See page 2 for the story on the police and code enforcement budgets.

McMurry said he spoke with former City Attorney Nick Marsh that morning and told him he had the money in this year’s budget to finish purchasing all of the land for the river walk this year. Carrollton Federal Bank is donating its parcel on Fifth Street to the city for the project.

The mayor said he is waiting on an estimate on concrete from Kemper Construction. Phase one of the river walk project for 2013-2014 fiscal year is installing a six-foot sidewalk from Fourth Street to Point Park and conduits for lighting. McMurry said Jimmy Supplee also will be working on cleaning up the riverbank once the weather breaks, and the city may spend about $1,000 for items such as grass seed.

McMurry said the high estimate on the splash park is $245,000.

According to the budget worksheets, administrative revenue is expected to be $3,288,995 next year, while administrative expenses are projected at $1,240,434.

The city’s largest revenue source is the Tennessee Energy Authority Corporation Gas Project (projected at $1,085,500 in 2013-2014) and the B.P. Gas Project (projected at $410,000 in 2013-2014). The next highest are insurance licenses (projected at $450,000), property taxes (projected at $382,600) and garbage collection revenue (projected at $348,850).

City Clerk/Treasurer Leatha Grimes said about $46,000-$47,000 is transferred into the city’s account every month from the two Public Energy Authority of Kentucky projects. Mayor Gene McMurry said the city also receives two large payments per year from TEAC, while B.P. is once a year.

“Carrollton Utilities really doesn’t make any money off of PEAK,” Councilman Dwight Louden explained to Councilman Robb Adams, who was not as familiar with the projects. “Carrollton Utilities makes their money off of a transportation fee that they charge because we own the pipeline from Texas Gas to the plants. So we charge them for transporting that gas through those lines because we had to pay for building the lines.”

McMurry added that the city makes a little money off of the gas itself because it receives a decreased rate. However, the biggest break goes to the industries to keep them from going somewhere else for their gas. About 97 percent of the gas Carrollton Utilities sells goes to industry, he said.

Moving on to expenses, McMurry said he added $5,000 to the community contingency line item for the Carroll County Arts Foundation. He said it would be a one-time donation to get the group off the ground.

Adams requested money be set aside in the budget for an annexation study. McMurry said Bobbie Bryant of Kentucky League of Cities will be in town next week, and he will talk to her about it. Council and the mayor agreed to add $5,000 under consultant fees for the study, raising the line item to $6,500.


Entrance signs

The beautification fees line item increased from $952 to $9,200. McMurry said this figure includes spending $8,000 on two new entrance signs. Adams requested bumping that amount up $4,000 so that all three points of entry into the city would have a new sign.

McMurry asked councilmembers about their opinion on the lighted sign with electronic scroll, similar to the sign at Carroll County High School, suggested by Councilwoman Tammy McBurney at the March 11 council meeting. Gordon and Adams said they were not in favor of it.

However, Adams said he would like the new signs to have lights shining on them; however that would need to be included in the budget.

Louden suggested installing two this year and one next year if they like it.

Adams said he does not want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but he absolutely despises the sign across from General Butler State Resort Park. “If I was going to put any in, I would put that one and not the other two.”

McMurry suggested moving that sign to another location.

Gordon agreed with Louden to budget for two signs. Louden said he was not sure where the city would put an entrance sign near the Kentucky River Bridge, and McMurry asked Adams to look into it.


Fourth of July

The city will increase the amount spent on the annual Fourth of July festival, from $20,000 last year to $25,000 this year. McMurry said it will be a one-day event including vendors, inflatables and possibly children’s activities.

Through a partnership with Herb Kinman of Kinman Chevrolet, country singer T.G. Sheppard and his wife, Kelly Lang, will perform a concert before the fireworks display, the mayor said. A local band will warm up for the duo.

McMurry said Sheppard and Lang’s normal fee is $18,000, but Kinman got a deal for $15,000. The city will pay $5,000 and Kinman will pay $10,000.
The mayor said he is expecting about 10,000 people and is working with Carrollton Police Chief Mike Willhoite on parking.

Adams suggested talking to the Kentucky Speedway about possibly renting a trolley to transport people to and from the parking lot.

Louden said the city should ask Carroll County Fiscal Court for a little money since it is not just a city event.


Christmas lights

The three-year contract with Easy Pro Property Services for Christmas lights downtown has expired and will not be renewed. “I’m not going to unless you all want to,” McMurry said. “I don’t want to. I think it’s a waste of money.”

The city spent $7,500 on the decorations.

Gordon said the brackets for the lights are still up and, since the city now owns a 70-foot lift, it could put their own lights up if they so choose.

McMurry said he received a lot of compliments on the Christmas lights along Highland Avenue and wants to get enough to go all the way up Hwy. 227 because those homes deserve to be included. He said this will be included in the Public Works budget.


Urban Forestry

The mayor said Urban Forestry requested $5,000 more this year, up to $10,000, for a tree project. The group would like to put trees in every yard on Highland Avenue.

Adams said he does not mind giving them the money for a tree program downtown, but not on Highland Avenue. Gordon said he liked the idea of flowers downtown, but not trees.

McMurry said he would like them to do a tree program along the river walk. He also said the added $5,000 could go toward bigger trees at the campground.

The mayor said he believes the city should give Urban Forestry the extra $5,000, designate $2,500 of that for the campground.