-City Of Madison Commissioners To Vote On Several Options-
By Jessie R. Box
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The City of Madison is in a deteriorating financial condition, according to the recent audit. The deteriorating financial condition results from General Fund expenditures exceeding General Fund revenues. City Manager Tim Bennett has several different options for the City Commissioners to vote on to address the financial situation.
The number one option is to eliminate the City of Madison Police Department and have the Sheriff’s Office assume the law enforcement duties. The police department has a $1.018 million budget, which according to Bennett is more than one-third of the City’s General Fund.
The Public Safety budget that includes the police and fire departments accounts for 57 percent of the General Fund. The City of Madison Fire Rescue has a budget of $600,000. The second option is to establish a Fire Assessment Fee to fully fund the $600,000 budget for the fire department. Bennett also asked Fire Chief Bruce Jordan to provide a plan as to how he would go about reducing the manning level in the fire department by one or two firefighters.
The third option is to eliminate the Community Development Department duties to Madison County. These duties are Building Inspections and Planning. Under this plan, the Community Development Department head position would be eliminated and the assistant would be reassigned within City Hall. The current salary and benefits for the head of the department totals approximately $80,000, not including the assigned vehicle.
The other options that Bennett will present to the City Commissioners include: reducing the payroll worker to part-time; reducing the manning level in Public Works; outsourcing sanitation services; increasing rates for water, sewer, and natural gas; increase millage rate to seven mills; increasing the amount firefighters contribute to pension; refinance wastewater bonds and to invoice community organizations and events all overtime accrued by police and public works.
The City Commissioners will be reviewing the options during the budget workshops. The date of the workshop has not been set yet but should be held in August and early September. The budget the commissioner’s decide on must undergo two readings and a public hearing prior to going into effect on Oct. 1.