Pelham sees cuts to 2009-2010 budget

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Pelham is the latest city in central Alabama that is trying to come up with a new budget in spite of a substantial drop in sales tax revenue. City councilors met Thursday to crunch the numbers ahead of a possible vote at Monday's council meeting.

Mayor Don Murphy's $39.5 million dollar proposed budget is $1.4 million less than last year, and includes cuts in the city's advertising budget and increases in health care costs to city employees. City Finance Director Tom Seale says the city has seen a $1.2 million drop in sales tax revenue. City Council President Mike Dickens says this year's budget is especially challenging.

"Some cuts need to be made," said Dickens, "We have to tighten our belt a little bit. We are hopeful things will improve, but at the same time we have to be diligent. We have to be good stewards of taxpayers money."

Pelham residents are still hopeful city leaders will make the right tough decisions.

"I think they are really looking into things to see where the city can cut, and still meet the needs of the people of the city," said Willard Payne, "I think that's important."

City leaders tabled, but are still considering the city's first sewer rate increase in 20 years. They say it would make up for the millions of dollars the system has lost over the years. They determined they need more time to evaluate the situation, and hope to get input from residents.

"I ask the citizens to at least give us a chance to explain why we are in this predicament," said Dickens, "Then secondly, allow us to look at ideas and proposals."

City leaders must approve the budget by Sept. 21.