Members of the Tallassee City Council voted 6-1 in favor of the 2020 fiscal year budget during Tuesday’s regular council meeting. Every member of the council was in favor of the proposed budget, except councilmember David Stough who said he could not support an appropriation to the Mt. Vernon Theatre Group for $4,000.
Stough said he is in support of the theater being self-sustaining and cannot encourage giving the organization taxpayers’ money.
“One minute they have sold out of tickets and the next minute they are begging for money,” Stough said, speaking in reference to a recent sold-out performance at the venue.
However, councilmember Bill Godwin was quick to defend the budget to include funding for the theater group.
“Selling tickets does not pay the bills,” Godwin said. “The theater is a big draw for the city. It brings a lot of people to this town.”
The total projected revenue in the 2020 fiscal year budget totals $10,878,958 with $10,374,650 in expenditures.
The budget includes $4,186,000 earmarked for projects in the upcoming year, including:
• A TAPS grant match for the downtown utility replacement project
• The Talleweka water tank will be sandblasted and painted
• Add Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to the water system
• Replace one water filter and underdrain
• Remove and replace some of the remaining cast-iron gas lines in the city
The council raised fees earlier this year on garbage pickup, sewage and wholesale water sales and while members say the increase mostly accounted for lost revenue, the increased revenue has given the council more room in the budget for unforeseen circumstances.
According to Godwin, the finance committee focused on regular line items, especially the regular line items with larger associated expenses such as water, gas, sales tax and more. Committee members then compared those expected expenditures to the projected revenue to create the 2020 budget.
"We project revenue above and beyond expenditures," Godwin said. "We have gone through and identified every potential revenue source."