Street fund shows biggest increase in preliminary city budget

Kevin Wilson

The Clovis City Commission, during its May 26 meeting, approved a preliminary budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, totaling $42.22 million

A quick look at the budget, which was due to the state’s department of finance and administration before June:

What’s the difference between the last two budgets? The preliminary 2010-11 budget was a little more than $36 million. That’s a difference of about $6.6 million.

City Finance Director Don Clifton itemized most of the differences:

• Increase in the general fund of $1.58 million. About half of that is because of an extra pay period. A year breaks down to approximately 52.14 weeks, and in the coming fiscal year that remainder adds up to an extra pay period.

• Wastewater expense increases of $162,383.

• Effective Jan. 1, the city will have a .25 percent gross receipts tax increase to pay down the city’s financial obligation for the Ute Water Pipeline Project. The tax is expected to generate $517,718 for the period the budget covers.

• A $2.7 million increase in the streets fund. This, Clifton said, is due mostly to $2.5 million for work on Mabry Drive.

• A $467,048 increase for Clovis Area Transit Service.

• A $328,183 increase in the sanitation fund.

• A bond payment of $477,538, toward $7 million in bonds issue for wastewater plant improvements.

Biggest department increases over the last five years? Clifton did not have the 2006 preliminary budget, so the final budget was used for the comparisons.

• The streets fund more than doubled, from $2.25 million in 2006 to a preliminary $4.99 million (121.9 percent increase) — mostly due to the aforementioned increases related to Mabry Drive.

• The fire budget moved from $5.27 million to $7.16 million (35.9 percent). The expenses are $1.54 million for personnel, including one new position for the upcoming year, and $321,320 in increased operating expenses.

Who has the largest expense account? Who is given credit cards, and what are they buying? City employees do not receive expense accounts, and each department is issued a credit card. City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said the credit cards are used for airline and hotel reservations for city business, online purchases for operating equipment and local purchases in the event that a local merchant doesn’t accept a purchase order.

Who has the largest cell phone bill? Technically, everybody. City employees are not issued cell phones, but are given a $35 stipend if they use their personal cell phones on city business. “Anything above that,” Clifton said, “you’re on your own.”

There are options where the employee could come out ahead, including prepaid plans and family plans that add a line for $10 a month. But many smartphones require data plans that start in the neighborhood of $50 per month.