Dobbins Heights town officials, some $29,000 in debt, met Tuesday to discuss the upcoming budget.
“One of two things need to happen, either we need to find additional revenue or we need to be able to cut some expenses,” said Devin Hall, Dobbins Heights accounting consultant.
The town is looking at doing both to meet the needs of a $349,247 budget.
The town collected more taxes from the residents than expected, so expecting $52,000 in the next fiscal year will be sufficient. The actual amount that has been collected in taxes to date from the town is $52,947.
The council is running the names and bad debt information on residents who have not paid their taxes in a notice to pay. This is the first time the town has run this type of ad in at least 10 years.
“More people are paying their taxes this year,” Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue said. The taxes collected in 2007 were $4,919, and in 2008, $9,167.39.
Several areas in Dobbins Heights need financial attention. The budget request for street repair is $38,000.
“We, have to build up a nest egg, so that eventually we will have the funds to pay for the improvements that we need,” said Mayor Pro Tem Gracie Jacksen.
The Dobbins Heights Community Center will be vacant soon and without someone to occupy the building, the town will have to pay the water and electricity payment.
“It probably won’t even take 30 days, before someone is renting out the building for church services,” said Council Member Mary Ann Gibson.
The budget requested for leasing and rental concession will drop from $5,000 to $1,000 in hopes that someone will occupy community center soon.
“This is a safe number,” Blue said.
“Our most costly utility is our power, and the only way to decrease that is to turn down the thermostat,” Blue said. “If we do this, we will have to come up with a standard setting. It cost about $600 to heat this building a month.”
The idea of hiring someone new for the parks and recreation department was brought to the attention of the council.
“I was looking into hiring someone new but we can actually use someone that we already have,” said Council Member Angeline Davis.
The council is considering taking a decrease in the pay that they receive and working less to be able to bring the town out of debt.
“If you work four days a week, you could save about $24,000,” Hall said. “There would also be saving since the use of electricity would decrease, due to no one being in the building for three days.”
A final decision on this matter has not been made.
Hollie Nivens can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 19 or by e-mailing at email@example.com.