The vote came after some discussion about the town’s budget in fiscal 2011, which begins Oct. 1. Jennings’ draft of the budget shows the town taking in nearly $861,000; budgeting at 90 percent of that figure gives the council roughly $775,000 to spend in the coming year, with nearly $425,000 going to police and fire protection.
But the immediate concern is the town’s employees. The mayor said last week that the town will “squeak by” on its next payroll, but won’t have enough funding available to cover the month of September.
Councilman Bill Rutledge moved to authorize Jennings to seek the loan, which is not to exceed $100,000. Councilman Herschel Phillips seconded the motion, which passed 4-0. (Jennings abstained, and Councilman Steve Medori was absent.)
The mayor said he takes no pleasure in seeking the financing.
“I don’t like the idea of borrowing money,” he said. “Looking at the numbers, everything is starting to pick back up just a little. It’s a slow something, but we are doing better.”
The council has been wrestling with its financial situation since before it took office in 2008. At an earlier meeting, members of the council floated the idea of a line of credit to make payroll for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
Town Clerk Andrea Jennings said the town’s financial outlook will begin to improve in November, once ad valorem tax revenue begins to come in.
Much of the meeting was spent discussing the budget for 2011. The mayor suggested the council explore the possibility of capping its employees’ health insurance, as well as some other forward-looking steps, specifically park improvements and possibly purchasing property.
“When this area needs a high school, I would love to own a piece of property where they could build,” Jennings said. “That was what Margaret did.
“We’re in a bad situation, but if we don’t start thinking ahead of next week, we’re just going to stay in the same rut.”
Jennings also thanked his neighboring municipalities, all of which have been supportive.
“I’ve had people from Springville come up to me and say, ‘If we can help you, let us know,’” he said. “I hope to hear back from (Trussville City Councilman) Wayne Taylor; they said they were willing to help. I’m sure St. Clair County is willing to do the same.
“Everybody knows the position we’re in, and they’ve said they want to help. I appreciate that.”
Contact Will Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.