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Paynesville Press - December 31, 2003

City approves 2004 budget

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The Paynesville City Council approved a 2004 budget of $1,360,600 for the city and a tax levy of $443,300 at its regular meeting last week.

The budget is $6,000 higher than 2003. Despite a loss of $86,400 in aid from the state, the levy is just $1,300 higher than 2003.

City officials were able to hold the levy down because the city was able to pay down a bond in October, saving the city $58,000. A $27,000 transfer from the liquor store fund to the general fund (money that normally would have gone into the sidewalk fund) was also used to make up for the loss in state aid.

The remainder of the state aid was accounted for with minor cuts in other areas, primarily to capital improvement funds, and with the small levy increase.

Only a few significant increases were made to the 2004 budget.

The Paynesville Municipal Airport got a 68 percent increase in its budget, from $16,800 in 2003 to $53,700 in 2004, to accommodate higher operating costs and the cost of fuel to be sold at the new airport.

Other large increases in the budget included: a $25,500 increase in the street and alley fund, from $114,490 in 2003 to #140,000 in 2004, because of the large street improvement project planned in 2004; a $19,000 increase in wages and benefits for city employees; and a $5,800 increase in the cable TV fund to pay for a new cable coordinator.

While two-thirds of the city's revenue comes from the tax levy and from state aid, another third comes from fees, fines, and interest income. The city's estimated revenues from the airport should be $44,800 in 2004, compared to $9,000 in 2003, an increase of $35,800. Administrative fines are budgeted to net the city $12,000 in 2004, and a new cable television franchise fee should account for an increase of $2,800 in revenues.

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