Perry cancels purchasing position for now to save more

chwright@macon.comJune 11, 2013 

PERRY -- A purchasing agent position is going to have to wait at least another few months, Perry City Council all but decided Tuesday evening.

Council members agreed to review the position along with other needed personnel positions and a list of items they decided to remove from the fiscal 2014 budget until they know how much to expect from property taxes.

“We’re not denying it outright,” said Mayor Jimmy Faircloth. “The way I look at it, we’re postponing it.”

City Council will vote on the budget on June 25, and it will go into effect July 1.

In the original draft City Manager Lee Gilmour presented a month ago, he estimated the city would finish the fiscal 2014 year with $47,800. But City Council wanted more of a cushion, in case of emergencies and to add to the city’s savings.

So, Gilmour presented them a list of adjustments that could take that carry-over amount to $185,200.

Among the suggestions is a reduction in potential raises for city employees to 2 percent instead of 3 percent, a phasing in of supplemental payments for paramedics, elimination of a $4,800 raise for the Community Development Director and a higher recreation fee for purchase of youth football helmets.

Second to the employee raises, the purchasing agent position would save the most, at $36,800. The city has done without the position for two years. Gilmour said the absence hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“You may remember there were questions from council about how long it takes for bids to go out, and some of the purchasing procedures, and things like that,” he told council.

Gilmour said the administration will have to manage a little bit longer, and though it’ll be tough on staff, the job will get done. He said they adjust to whatever mayor and council decides.

The same is true for other needed personnel, such as 18 firefighters and as many as six police officers.

Everything will be reviewed in October, council decided. The tax digest, which tells the city how much to expect from property taxes this year, comes out in about September.

The hope is that it’ll be much higher than the 1.5 percent increase over this fiscal year that Gilmour based his budget on, said Councilman Randall Walker.

But no matter what, council won’t cut the budget too close because they’re still trying to build the reserve fund, Faircloth said.

Right now, it’s at about $2.8 million, which would fund two months of operations in a pinch.

Faircloth would like to see it at double that.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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