Council passes budget, caps school funding

The Russellville City Council passed an operating budget for the new fiscal year during a special called meeting Friday night.

The council passed a balanced budget, but in doing so, placed a cap on the amount of funding the city allocates to the school system.

The city has historically given 38.33 percent of a three-cent sales tax to the schools. That figure accounted for about $1.4 million this past year, city officials said.

In the budget passed by the council Friday, the city will give the school system $1 million in 2010-2011.

Mayor Troy Oliver said the city does not have the sales tax revenue or reserves to continue funding the system at the same level they have in the past, but he believes the one-cent sales tax passed by county voters in June will keep the system from hurting.

“With the $1 million we are going to give them plus the $800,000 they receive from the one-cent sales tax, they will be getting more than if we had passed a one-cent sales tax increase,” Oliver said.

The city discussed passing a one-cent sales tax increase in 2009, but did not do so. County voters opted to impose a temporary tax in June that provides about $800,000 for the city schools and $1.2 million for the county school system.

City and school officials did not meet prior to the passage of the city’s budget, though council members expressed a desire to do so during Monday night’s regular meeting. Superintendent Don Cox sent council members an email asking to meet with them on Oct. 7 to share the system’s financial information with them.

“There is no way that the money the city gives us and the money from the tax will get us through proration,” Cox said Friday morning before the council’s action.

“Other school systems are trying to find funds and we are wrestling to hold on to ours. All we want is an opportunity to sit down and meet with the mayor and council and explain our condition, but that hasn’t happened.”

Cox said that by capping the school funding, the city would basically be taking money away that voters gave the schools in June.

“The community stepped up and passed the one-cent sales tax and now the city is basically taking it away,” Cox said. “I think that by this time next year, we will be borrowing money to make payroll. The people in this community are so proud of their school system, it seems like it should be funded the way it needs to be.”

Oliver said the council has asked all department heads to keep a watchful eye on their budgets and to manage overtime and all expenses.

“We have had to make cuts across the board,” he said.

Councilman Lanny Hubbard said that all decisions affecting school funding are difficult.

“But when you look at it, there’s nothing we can do,” he said. “It’s operating with what we have. We have to look at the city as a whole, the police department, fire department and street departments all have to be funded, too.”

The council said they would still meet with school officials although they moved ahead in passing their budget.

Council members Jeff Masterson and William Nale were not at Friday’s meeting.

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals Community College signs 24 students in FAME class

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

News

Russellville High School varsity cheerleaders attend UCA cheer camp

Franklin County

NWSCC receives $18,000 in grants from Dollar General Literacy Foundation

News

Russellville equine therapy visits library program

News

Steam locomotive delivery to Red Bay delayed, arrives July 1

News

Local author holds book signing at RPL

Franklin County

Former Russellville resident performs ‘Miracle Worker’

News

Presenting: Miss Phil Campbell

Franklin County

All American Tang Soo Do students recognized

News

Russellville High School students sign to pursue fine arts careers

Franklin County

Football Funday, special needs probowl take place June 15

Galleries

PHOTOS: RMS students take the stage for spring sing

News

Russellville member named among finalists for GFWC Jennie Award

East Franklin

East Franklin Junior High celebrates May 21 graduation

Belgreen

Belgreen Class of 2024 celebrates graduation

Franklin County

Local churches plan Vacation Bible School programs

Galleries

PHOTOS: Tharptown High School Wildcats graduate

Galleries

PHOTOS: Phil Campbell High School students graduate

Franklin County

NEMCC announces more than 400 to spring vice president’s list

Franklin County

UNA releases spring dean’s, president’s lists

News

Roxy holds June 15 concert, plans other events

x