During the Sept. 6 Smyrna Town Council meeting, Town Council discussed the 2012 budget as the Budget Committee is currently working on the new budget.
Mayor Pat Stombaugh said the Finance Committee is hoping to have the fiscal year 2012 budget done by Nov. 1 so they can get it out to the public before the holidays.
Councilman Jeff Flairty asked about the potential 2011 shortfall during the discussion and asked if there are any recommendations regarding the possibility of a shortfall.
“For 2011, from what I understand from the finance manager, it’s a little early to make a call on that,” Stombaugh said. “We thought we were going to have a $163,000 surplus and then at one point, it looked like we were going to have a $700,000 deficit and now I think we’re more like a $43,000 deficit right now.”
Stombaugh explained the numbers are fluctuating right now because they are unsure of all the figures as they are still waiting on the numbers such as the transfer taxes.
Town Manager Dave Hugg explained that each year, the town presents a balanced budget at the end of every year. During the course of a year, a budget is a forecast of what you think is going to happen as far as revenues and expenditures. Since you can’t predict snowstorms and hurricanes, you don’t have complete control over the budget.
“A deficit doesn’t mean that we’re broke, it simply means that we expended part of our reserves above and beyond the revenues that came in,” Hugg said.
There are things that can be done throughout the year to try and help with the shortfall such as electric rates, however, at this point in time there is no sure fire way to respond.
“You’re pretty well victim of what happens in terms of the economy and revenues and you’re ability to manager,” Hugg said. “We don’t carry over monies from the previous year so we basically zero out the budget at the end of the year and start fresh.”
Therefore, at the end of the year if the town has a surplus, it goes into reserves and doesn’t get carried over into the next year’s spending. If the end of the year is slightly negative, then the town goes down in it’s reserves to cover the expenditures.
Helping developers with bonding requirements.
Town Council approved a motion for temporary modification of bonding requirements for residential developments. Hugg asked Council to do so for the second year in a row. Council agreed on the same measure this time last year.
Hugg explained that developers in the area are having a hard time making progress on developments because of the economic times and the banks aren’t giving developers an inch when it comes to the bonds.
Therefore, Hugg asked for Council to once again agree to temporarily modify the requirements in a way that the underlying requirement is still in effect but that allows developers to make progress.
Town Council approved the measure for a second year.
Trouble brewing on Council
Following an executive session that saw no changes with the contract negotiations, Councilman Tony DeFeo spoke out against Stombaugh.
DeFeo was upset Mayor Stombaugh sent him an email stating she would no longer communicate with him through email and only during council meetings.
Stombaugh explained she sent the email because while she doesn’t have a problem disagreeing with DeFeo from time to time, she at times feels disrespected by him.
After going back and forth for a few minutes, Town Solicitor John T. Jaywork reminded Town Council that they can’t have conversations through email because that’s basically holding a meeting. Council members can email another member stating their opinion about something but the second councilmember can’t respond back.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.