City sets 2019 budget

By MARLAN JONES,

The Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget during the September 4 regularly scheduled meeting.

They also adopted the 2018-2019 tax levy resolution, and the millage rate remained the same. According to the proposed budget totals, the city will operate with $1,530,343.00 in the general fund this upcoming year. Solid waste will be operating with a budget of $229,850.00, and municipal fire with a budget of $45,840. There is $562,850.00 slated to the water and sewer fund.

Combined, the proposed budget comes to a total of $2,358,883.00.

Specific department totals from the general fund detailing the operating budget of the street, police, parks, elections, departments were also released by the city.

The city has budgeted more money for the street department after spending over $120,000 on asphalt in August. The condition of the streets is a universal measuring stick for all municipalities.

Mayor Todd Booth believes that the $120,000 spent during last fiscal year was the most ever budgeted at one time. He explained that this was accomplished by pinching pennies throughout the year to have more money to go towards street repairs. Booth said that moving forward the goal is to budget at least $100,000 or more towards street repair each year. According to the new budget $274,410 has been budgeted for the street department.

The Mendenhall Police Department will have an operating budget of $511,139. The Sportsplex has received several upgrades over the past few years that include a gazebo and new playground equipment, most of which was paid for using grant money, and other special programs.

Booth explained that future plans will see improvements made to the City Park. He also said that in the near future they plan to restore basketball courts to the city park. A hefty $92,935 has been budgeted towards parks and recreation for the upcoming fiscal year. The Mendenhall Armory, Civic Center, and Teen Center will be maintained with a combined budget of less than $6,000.

The Library commanded $18,325 of the general fund, and the fire department will operate with $68,097. The Mendenhall Fire Department has grown by leaps and bounds due to the hard work of several individuals. This is evident in the department’s improved fire rating from 8 to 6 within the last fiscal year. Improving the fire rating has been a long term goal of the city to help lower insurance rates for home owners inMendenhall. Plans to take further steps to improve the rating are currently being discussed.

The city committed $9,400 towards economic development. The lion’s share of the general fund was commanded by the Legislative ($150,823), Judicial ($97,877), and Executive ($45,502) departments. 

Booth announced during the October Mayor and Board of Aldermen meetings that the sales tax revenue was up approximately $30,000 for the year. He said, “This is a good sign that our economy is headed in the right direction,” adding, “That means there’s a lot more business being done in town.”

Booth said that he and others are excited about the direction the city is headed in. “People are starting to look at Mendenhall a little more.”

He said that there has been interest in several vacant lots around town from potential businesses and home owners. He credited the success of the city to the citizens. He believes the success also ties in to the appearance of the city and projects such as Friday Nights on Main and the Farmer’s Market. These events and more have helped to generate a positive buzz around Mendenhall.