WEIRTON - It's that time of the year again and Weirton city officials are buzzing around preparing the 2012-2013 budget, which is currently projected at $15,247,637 and includes $1.48 million in grants and more than $2 million in projected carryover.
Finance Director Thomas Maher Jr. presented budget packets to council members Friday, which included projected revenues, expenses and capital requests from various departments. He said some of the projections are conservative because they are estimates based on figures, such as the property taxes from both Brooke and Hancock counties, which won't be available until March 3.
City Manager Valerie Means said there are still a few months remaining in the current fiscal year and anything can happen but there currently is an anticipated carryover of $2,366,260 from the current budget that will be rolled into next year's figure.
While the figures for the contingency fund could change at council's request, Maher said $500,000 has been budgeted for the contingency leaving approximately $337,196 for council to utilize for improvements, equipment or other items. He said there is an additional $879,000 in the financial stabilization fund.
Maher said the budget is balanced at $15,247,637 however it consists of several other figures such as the $1.48 million in pass-through funds; $4.490 million earmarked for specific use; and $2.366 million in carryover which leaves $6.792 million for general use.
"The departments have made requests for equipment, personnel and other various reasons that are not projected into these budget numbers," said Maher.
Weirton city officials began working on balancing the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget on Friday and plan for several more workshop meetings to meet the state time requirements on finalizing the budget. The proposed operational budget will be $15,247,637 —which includes $1.48 million in grant dollars and a $2.366 million projected carryover. -- Angelina Dickson
In addition, Maher said the property taxes anticipated from Brooke and Hancock counties are at $2,482,950. He said there was a small decrease in the utility tax from $1.17 million to $1.1 million and an increase in the West Virginia Hotel Motel Tax from $230,000 last year to $240,000 - half of which must still be paid to the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Some of the additional revenue lines include $55,000 in business licenses; $146,300 in business permits - which includes $96,300 from ArcelorMittal; $840,000 from the Municipal Fee used to pave roads; $940,000 from refuse collections; $2.24 million in police and fire civil service fees; $30,000 in penalties on not paying the police and fire civil service fees; $320,644 in grant dollars for the Weirton Transit Corp.; and $342,000 in anticipated grant money for the Three Springs Drive enhancement project.
Maher said there was an increase in the table gaming taking the revenue to $550,000 but a small decrease in video lottery leaving the revenue at $275,000. He said there is an additional $200,000 in state grants; $446,000 from Hancock County; $40,000 from the Hancock PRO program; $30,000 from the Brooke County levy and an additional $40,000 from video lottery specifically for fire hydrant maintenance.
Weirton Council is planning a second budget workshop for Friday at 8:30 a.m. in Room 201 of the Weirton City Building
Additional discussions were held regarding other requests for computers and iPads for city council and the department heads, along with repairs to or the replacement of the Lee Avenue Bridge. Some other requests included a street paver, additional demolition funds and other equipment for various departments.
Maher said there was $560,000 in requests which he said exceeds the $337,169 in contingency after budgeting $500,000 for the coming year. He said he is also working on figures for a 3 percent raise for city employees that will be ready for presentation during the next budget workshop scheduled for Feb. 17 at 8:30 a.m.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)