By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
The city of Albion is dealing with a yearly budget deficit for the first time in five years, but the city manager and auditors see it primarily as a sign of the times.
Bill Tucker of Abraham and Gaffney PC said the city brought in approximately $4.1 million dollars in 2009, $237, 508 less than its expenses.
Albion’s general fund currently has around $807,000 available, 18.3 percent of its average operating expenses for a year. Tucker said local governments “should have 30-35 percent of a yearly operating budget available in a healthy economy”, but Albion is on par with a lot of small communities dealing with an economic downturn.
Abraham and Gaffney gave the city clean opinion reports (the highest rating) on all 10 major areas in the report. It suggested that a major decrease in income tax revenues and the costs of installing a faster drainage system in the city hall required dipping into the general fund.
City Manager Michael Herman said the council knew it would be dealing with a deficit when it approved the budget last year, but there’s a fine line to tow when considering reductions.
“We’ve been reducing staff ever since 2002, but you get to a point where if you want to provide services you still need the people,” he said. “This council has to (wrestle) with our options, and one of those was to use a little bit of fund balance.”