Petelos gives 2011 budget proposal to council

By Jonathan Hardison

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - The new Hoover budget has good news for Hoover city employees, yet mixed news for the city's school system.

Mayor Tony Petelos' proposed spending plan would put raises back in for city employees and buy some new equipment like a fire truck and police cars. But the city's funding for the school system would stay flat.

City employees will be happy with no increase in their health insurance costs and the raises reinstated, something the mayor said was a must.

"It was the first time in the history of the city we had to freeze salaries," Petelos said. "The employees did a good job, we feel like the money is there."

"It's tough times for the city, but we recognize it's tough times for our employees as well, and they need help as well," said city council president Gary Ivey.

The city also will end this year with a projected $2.3 million dollar surplus thanks to increasing tax revenue that started rising in the spring.

While the budget next year is about $1.6 million bigger than this year, the city's funding for Hoover's school system will stay flat at $2 million, compared to more than $7 million from 2006-2008.

"Things have changed, things have changed dramatically over the last several years with this economy, so we just have to be very very careful," Petelos said. "And those revenue numbers we reached in the past? It's gonna be a long time before we get back to those numbers."

Ivey said in referring to the city's funding for the school system, "It was supposed to phase down, and did. And probably lasted longer, if you look at the original projections, than anticipated. And I think we do as much as any city for the school systems."

The city council has until the end of September to change or approve the mayor's budget proposal.

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