Commissioners agree every penny counts when trimming expenses

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By Lorrie Kinkade

How does the Milton city commission make ends meet in these tough financial times?

The same way the families they serve do – they look for ways to trim expenses.

Commissioners gathered in a special meeting Sept. 30 to discuss options to reduce the city’s expenses without compromising services.

“It’s crunch time,” Commissioner Steve Brierly said during the meeting. “It’s time to really get tight [with expenses].”

From disconnecting a phone line that is used very little to adding sensors to security lights, the group agreed to do what they could to reduce the city’s expenses rather than pass their own increased bills on to taxpayers.

As many of the cuts centered on the city’s utility services, supervisor Danny Purvis played an integral part in the discussion. When asked, he said two-way radios and cell phones may be used to communicate with employees at the sewer plant, saving the municipality $60 per month for the landline that primarily serves as a contact number for salesman. The commissioners agreed to make the change in service immediately.

Additionally, Purvis agreed with commissioners that a well located near the river should be eliminated, saving more than $200 per month for electric service and insurance. The well has not been used since 2001, when new wells were brought online, and is not needed as a backupservice, Purvis said. More than the monthly fees will be saved by the elimination, said City Clerk Shannon Hoskins, as this means the city will not have to pay for necessary repairs on uninsured damage to the well house caused from a roof leak. Again, the commission agreed to take steps to remove the well.

The city may also save money by making bulk purchases of meters and other frequently used items, Hoskins suggested. Storage space is available for the stock she said, adding that reduced rates may be possible if purchasing in bulk and surmising fuel usage would be reduced with fewer buying trips. Next month, she will provide the commission with a cost analysis of frequent purchases at which time a decision on the issue is expected.

Other cost saving measures the board agreed to included shopping for lower interest rates on the city’s loans and reviewing allowances made for developers that may not be required by city ordinance.

“We might be giving away a lot of stuff that we don’t have to,” Commissioner Jerry Harmon said. “We’ve got to treat this place like a business.”

The next meeting of the Milton city commission will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 8, at the city’s municipal building on Hwy. 421 North.