By Alison James

Associate Editor

With almost $50 million in expected general fund revenue for fiscal year 2015, the city is off and running to finish off the year with a surplus, based on the FY2015 budget.

“We want to run the city, we want to provide great services, we want to have great things,” said city administrator Joey Motley. “We want to be good stewards of (our money).”

About 52 percent of the city’s anticipated revenue for the general fund comes from sales and use taxes. Other revenue sources are business licenses, occupational license fees, gasoline taxes, property taxes, transfer in from other funds and (10 percent) from other sources.

This does not represent “total city revenues” which include portions like solid waste revenues, sewer revenues and light and power revenues, which Motley said roughly “pass through” – such money is received by the city as revenue and expended in the same categories.

Sales and use tax revenues and occupational license fee revenues have slowly grown over the past three to four years in the upswing following the economic downtown

“These are just projections based on the trends we’ve seen over the past two years,” said Motley of the predicted revenue from these sources for FY2015.

Budgeted expenditures from the general fund for the city include $21.8 million for the city’s employees. Also budgeted is $4.8 million is debt service, $2.9 million for capital outlay and capital projects and 3.7 million for the city’s contract with ESG.

When all is said and done, the city is looking at a $700,000 surplus – money, Motley said, for which the city already has plans.

“Of that, we have put aside $500,000 to go toward the building of a new fire station,” Motley said. “The $200,000 we’ve put up toward a ladder truck in the future.”

Motley said having a surplus – money in the bank – is of benefit to the city to maintain, when it’s possible. The city’s surplus, designated as “unassigned funds” is projected to increase slightly this year past the $22 million mark.

“We haven’t had the luxury every year to be able to do that,” Motley said. “We’re to the point where we’re in good shape … Everybody got pretty much everything they asked for in the budget that they needed.”

The city also intends to continue chipping away at the accumulated debt in the coming years, which currently stands at slightly more than $100 million.

Motley said he is proud the city spends 29 percent of the general fund budget on public safety – representing the largest percentage of the general fund department budgets.

“We’ve got to have it,” Motley said. “Whether we have parks and recreation or anything else, we’ve got to have it.”

In the end. Motley said they important thing to know is that the city is in good shape financially.

“We’re in a good cash position,” Motley said. “We’re as good as it gets around here … That’s the result of good leadership for lots of years.”

City banks on about $50 million in revenue for FY2015