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City of Trenton’s Preliminary Budget Faces Deficit

News Editor

The City of Trenton held two workshops to review the preliminary budget, one on August 22 and the second on August 29. The Sentinel attended part of the first meeting where Mayor Alex Case gave an overview of the revenues and expenses and then began going through the budget line-by-line.

At the time, the budget had a roughly $130,000 deficit. Several numbers in the draft needed to be corrected, and the commission was continuing to make adjustments. Therefore, these numbers are estimates: total revenue was listed at a little over $2.2 million while total expenses were listed at under $2.4 million.

Of the digest, Case said, “We took quite a bit of growth. Gross digest totals went up just under $10 million.” The net digest value is $111,940,255 which (with the current millage rate of 4.4980)  results in tax revenue of $503,500 for the city.

He noted that the Local Option Sales Tax revenue is an estimate, later telling the Sentinel, “We can’t anticipate what sales will do. Our LOST tax is a big portion of the funds we get.”

Monda Wooten (street commissioner) speculated, “I think the economy’s going down. That’ll cause that number to go down.”

Case responded, “That’s what’s worrying me…We probably need to shoot lower than the $595,000 [projection].”

Each month, the city tries to set aside $2,000 for savings. Case explained that the savings account has been stable, but they would like to get to a six-month operational budget in savings.

Wooten noted that business licenses are inexpensive, saying, “I love the idea of a small business, mom and pop, having a very reasonable business license. But [we’ve] got companies earning millions and millions a year.” She noted that large companies require more services than small businesses.

April Keith (city clerk) reported that the most expensive business license in the city is $600 for companies with over 200 employees.

After the meeting, Case summarized to the Sentinel, “I asked the department directors and commissioners to go back and look at everything to see if there are any cuts we can make in operations budgets. The biggest increases are personnel-related, with insurance and cost-of-living raises…We’re going to look at business licenses and court fees. We have a lot of people who don’t show up to court and that’s an expense on us.”

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