New Cumberland OKs 2015 budget

NEW CUMBERLAND – New Cumberland’s budget picture continued its downward trend Tuesday with city council’s approval of a smaller budget for fiscal year 2015.

The $526,490 budget is nearly $20,000 less than the current year’s budget and nearly $67,000 less than the 2013 budget.

City officials say they continue to adjust to the impact that out-of-state competition is having on Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.

“The downward trend is a result of … a decline in revenue from table gaming and video lottery,” said Councilman Will White, chairman of the finance committee. “If we don’t have the dollars coming in from those primary sources … then the capacity to spend is not going to be there.”

In 2013, the city budgeted $150,140 in table gaming income but received only $27,391. For fiscal year 2015, which starts on July 1, the city has budgeted $23,192 in table gaming income – a difference of $126,948 in just two years.

The city’s 2 percent share of limited video lottery proceeds also has gone down – from $18,976 in 2013 to $13,220 budgeted for the upcoming fiscal year. Limited video lottery proceeds come from the West Virginia Lottery cafes that have opened across the state since the state Legislature legalized such establishments in 2001.

Municipalities share in the net proceeds of the limited video lottery machines located within their geographic boundaries. The four cafes in New Cumberland have 23 machines, according to the West Virginia Lottery.

Not accounted for in the 2014-2015 budget is the $114,000 that the city gets every year from Hancock County commissioners – New Cumberland’s share of the net proceeds from the video lottery slot machines at Mountaineer. As long as the county’s 2 percent share in video lottery proceeds does not dip below $2.8 million, New Cumberland’s portion should stay the same in the coming fiscal year.

The new budget also includes a 3 percent pay raise for city employees and $22,896 for overtime expenses.

Council met in special session Tuesday morning to adopt the budget, which it did unanimously with little comment.

“In the larger scheme of things, from the finance side, I am very comfortable with what I saw,” White said of City Clerk Tammy Jenkins’ budget revisions.

The budget includes $21,305 for street paving and $5,000 for storm sewer repairs.

Mayor Linda McNeil said she hopes to have a street paving program this year, but only after potholes are filled and storm sewers are examined for possible obstructions.

Although McNeil called street paving an “absolute necessity for our residents,” she said, “We want to make sure we do things in the right order.”

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