Century Budget: Gas Department Facing Big Loss; Mayor Wants Employee Raises

August 17, 2018

Century’s gas department is expected to lose over $200,000 next fiscal year, and the mayor is proposing a 3 percent raise for employees.  Those were just two of the items discussed Thursday afternoon during a Town of Century budget workshop.

Gas Department Losses

The town’s gas tentative gas department budget is projecting a loss of $214,000 as the town works to figure out where the gas they purchase from their supplier is going because much of it is not being billed to customers.

Gas Superintendent Wally Kellett said it’s certain the gas is not leaking because that would be very obvious. The problem, he said, is either with customer meters, meter reading and billing,  or a discrepancy between the amount billed by the town’s supplier and the quantity actually delivered.

The town plans to install a “gate station” meter to measure and verify the amount of gas received from the supplier, and they are considering about $50,000 for new meters for all customers because current meters are decades old.  The system currently servers 498 customer accounts in and around the town. There were 520 gas customers just a few weeks ago.

“It’s hard to say how much of a difference it will make, but it will be tremendous,” Kellet said the increased revenue expectorated from new, more accurate gas meters.

About $160,000 in gas revenue was lost this year because, according to town officials, a meter reader was not properly reading meters. That meter reader is no longer employed by the town.

“The biggest unknown right now for the gas department is how much are we going to bill (next fiscal year),” accountant Robert Hudson said. “”We are seeing problems with the gas department as far as billing versus purchases.”

The proposed budget moves administrative salaries out of the gas department in order to curtail losses. The gas fund had typically paid a portion of the the salaries of the mayor, town council and administrative clerks. An $18,000 budgeted rent the gas department had paid the general fund has also been eliminated to improve the balance sheet.

Employee Raises

Mayor Henry Hawkins has requested a 3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA)  across the board for employees. The current COLA as set by the Social Security Administration is 2 percent, according to Town Clerk Kim Godwin.

The town’s total personnel costs, including salaries and benefits, is budgeted at $1.045 million.

Not Final Yet

The budget discussed Thursday is not yet final and no formal actions were taken. A preliminary budget draft will be presented during a council workshop at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 24.

Comments

31 Responses to “Century Budget: Gas Department Facing Big Loss; Mayor Wants Employee Raises”

  1. Just me... on August 20th, 2018 11:30 pm

    @concerned resident…if the employee was doing business on his lunch, one would think at 12:15 that would be appropriate. So lets say your water or gas service was interrupted while he was on his lunch, I am sure you would not want that employee to have to go switch vehicles before coming to “your” rescue. So if he did, then here goes the complaint it took him longer than you expect to get to you within the city limits. Pick your battles wisely. What do you want speedy service or to whine about time the people that service you and others aren’t as prompt as you think they should be.

    Another thing, yes they could go else where for employment but every town employee is devoted to the town. If you do not think so, then maybe you have not been called out for a service call at the wee hour of the morning or called away from a family function. So to say someone does not deserve a raise, next time you think about calling the after hours number for them come to help you..fix your own leak.

  2. Black Resident on August 19th, 2018 1:18 am

    It’s a sad day in Century when the Mayor is using the race card. The Mayor has been in office for a year and a half. I don’t see anything he can point to that is being accomplish. The city is worst off then it ever was under his leadership. While it’s true that Mayor Freddie was stuck in his ways and past, he didn’t raise the water bill sky high. Every month, the bill is a different price amount. Time he got in office, he gave out raises to the staff. Mr. Mayor, the City of Pensacola has note given out raises for over 10 years to employees. Mayor Hayward knows that the government is not in the business of creating jobs, but to bring businesses in to create jobs, that is the governments roll. The government is not a welfare system, where they give out money. Take some business and government classes/course. When you and the council bring in a lot of revenue, then maybe raises can be looked at. Look at best practices of other cities/county for guidance. The Mayor is dividing the town with baseless comments ( race card) that has no basis in fact or law. These comments are decisive and irresponsible, especially when the are baseless. Throwing out the race card without any facts base on race is reckless without facts. Just saying that this is happening because you’re black is not enough. The Mayor has lost this town and needs to resign Monday morning. This town can’t be led any longer under Mayor Hawkins. This has no place in Century and our government. The Mayor won with the help of white voters, but is using the race card. No business experience or leadership! People who get elect should have some governmental and business experience. I don’t vote on color, I vote on experience and leadership. The voters, voted for change, but, instead they got the same old swamp and worse. I judge the on his tenure so far as Mayor of Century. He owns this now. Don’t tell me about what the previous administration has done. Be a leader and own up to it. As a resident, I want legitimate reasons, not excuses. Seeing the Mayor in the paper every other week about something negative is not racism. Again, once he use the race card, he lost the town and respect of the people. He DE-value himself and people respecting him. People will not listening to anything more has to say. There is no desperate treatment against him here in Century that he can say is direct racism, or base on race. The Mayor hang-out at the gas station behind the counter with white women (Marathon gas station) and they probably voted for him, so why is he playing the race card. Smiling in there face but using the race card. It’s was all good when white residents hep put him in office by voting for him, but now you are uing the race card against them to turn the black folk against them. I am smarter then that, and the town people are too.

  3. chris on August 18th, 2018 7:33 pm

    @ haha: able bodied person on disability = socialist.

  4. David Huie Green on August 18th, 2018 11:40 am

    Tracking down the missing gas is important.

    Slow meters? Unrecorded services? CNG vehicle consumption? Miscalculation?

    You need income to pay outgo.

    David for truthful answers

  5. Haha on August 18th, 2018 10:06 am

    @chris yeah, they could get on disability. Then they would be Guaranteed a raise. I mean what’s wasteful about an able bodied person on disability, right?

  6. Concern Resident on August 17th, 2018 11:02 pm

    I feel as a tax payer, the town should get a hold on the vehicle situation. I myself saw a blue truck today at Penn Air bank. The worker was doing business at 12:15 p.m. (Friday). I saw the license plate started with 219. I guess this is allowed in a government vehicle. I hope this worker was not on the clock doing business at the bank.

  7. chris on August 17th, 2018 7:48 pm

    @Haha: America, the land of opportunity. If you don’t like your current situation, then change it. Nobody who is employed by Century has to stay there.

  8. Haha on August 17th, 2018 7:03 pm

    So all you commenters talking about government waste and employees don’t need raises etc…are you on public assistance or social security or disability? Yeah, so you are getting a 2 percent cost of living raise. How are you more deserving?

  9. Chelleepea on August 17th, 2018 6:35 pm

    @Century Resident, we can try to play the blame game all day but what we need to focus on how to fix the problem. If you have some positive suggestions, please do tell.

    You’re right Mr. Hawkins represent all the people not just his supporters or the employees of the town. He can’t satisfy everybody but if he does what is right for the whole town even if he makes some people mad at him than everything will work out for the better.

  10. Michelle D on August 17th, 2018 6:29 pm

    Wow! I am so sorry Mayor Hawkins has been thrown to the dogs. NOT! He has put himself in a predicament after the comments he has made, things he has done and playing the race card. He knows the City is in a bind and now wants to give the employees a raise. You are too funny Mayor!! Well, I can say this about ways to save money.
    1. Stop the taking home of city trucks, unless that person is taking call. 2. Get rid of the gas department. ESP wants the gas dept. Let them have it! Stop paying the family benefits. Pay the employee insurance and be done! I have never heard of any city, county or state agency that pays for the family insurance.
    Mayor Hawkins has lost the respect of many people from the things he has done lately. And no it is not racism… Not sure what to call it… Stupidity maybe?
    At the end of the day I seem to want to say bye bye bye.

  11. Century Resident on August 17th, 2018 6:15 pm

    “Everybody’s aware that most of the financial problems happened before this administration….Mayor Hawkins or his supporters should not take every criticism personally .”

    Mr. Hawkins was on the board as the problems got worse. He is part of the previous administration problem! And it’s not about his supporters…he is suppose to represent and work for all citizens, not just those that paid for his election or got out the vote.

  12. Chelleepea on August 17th, 2018 6:07 pm

    Everybody’s aware that most of the financial problems happened before this administration. We want to know can this administration fix it or like all others try to kick the can down the line like it has been going on for decades.

    Yes everbody deserves a standard of living raise but this is not the time! Let’s not forget that payroll checks have bounced and we are in a financial crisis. What good is a raise now if we shut the doors in a year or two. Let’s be smart people. Perhaps when the council gets a handle on the town’s finances by being able to cut down the deficit with a reasonable repayment ,make bill payments on time, and stop the gas department from bleeding, then give them a 5% raise instead of 3%.

    I’m against cutting the employees health insurance and against giving them a raise. So whose side am I on?

    Mayor Hawkins or his supporters should not take every criticism personally . …it’s the price of being in public office. I voted for him and I want him to do well. That’s the only way Century can be better.

  13. Sam on August 17th, 2018 6:00 pm

    I wish the town of south Flomaton still existed. Anything is better than what we have now. Race has nothing to do with incompetence. This town is in trouble.

  14. Nick on August 17th, 2018 4:27 pm

    Preacher, I agree completely with you. The town of Century has been in this situation for many years, these problems don’t just appear its systemic of a greater lack of awareness or non-caring in the community.

  15. You're Kidding on August 17th, 2018 4:18 pm

    @Preacher Man
    “I find it interesting that none of you complained during the tumultious dogmatic tenure of the previous administration but when Mayor Hawkins is working with the hand he was dealt,everybody has a negative to say about him.”

    Seems you forgot that Mayor Hawkins was previously Councilman Hawkins and very much a part of the previous administration. He wasn’t dealt anything the he did not have a hand in also.

  16. Tom on August 17th, 2018 2:10 pm

    Comedy Century, not central!!

  17. Preacher Man on August 17th, 2018 2:06 pm

    I find it interesting that none of you complained during the tumultious dogmatic tenure of the previous administration but when Mayor Hawkins is working with the hand he was dealt,everybody has a negative to say about him. Everybody deserves a cost of living raise and if someone is driving a work vehichle on off time, then address it appropriately.

  18. Chelleepea on August 17th, 2018 12:22 pm

    Ummmmmmm…..last week it was cut the health insurance, this week give them raises. (I get the feeling mayor and council are not on the same page.)

    If i read the previous articles right, Century has a deficit of about $4 million. I’ll grant you the town employees deserve a raise but fixing the financial crisis is first or nobody will have a job.

    Moving admin salary out of gas doesn’t solve anything , it’s just a bookkeeping trick. Mr. Wally is on the right track in identifying some of the issues and working on fixes.

    Some of the things to consider . …a freeze on hiring, a freeze on raises, a freeze on special spending, ask each department to cut their budget below last year’s budget by a certain percentage.

    I would also consider an over hall of the accounting system used by the town. Make it simpler. There’s been so much moving of accounts around no one seems to grasp the overall state of the town’s finances.

  19. Wasted Tax Payer Money on August 17th, 2018 12:20 pm

    I always see a blue city trunk parked in-front of an apartment at Camellia Gardens Apartments. The worker drives around at night in it, taking family and friends around town on tax payers dollars ( government waste and abuse). No persons should be in those vehicles if they are not government employees. The vehicle is parked overnight at the complex. This has been going on for awhile, yet the Mayor wants to give them an increase in pay. This is poor leadership with no oversight. The Mayor will have an excuse for this too.

  20. James on August 17th, 2018 12:19 pm

    Still waiting on Century to approve my $12,000 auto loan…

  21. DLo on August 17th, 2018 12:07 pm

    So, we’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to figure out why we lost hundreds of thousands of dollars so we ca further justify keeping control of the gas, when there’s another entity that is vastly more qualified to run it, that wants to pay us to take it over. Meanwhile, back in fantasy land, the mayor wants to give raises, when the town can’t cover the payroll they have now. I know, let’s give all the town employees a Cadillac, Mr. Mayor, do you know any dealers that will work out an….arrangement?

  22. tg on August 17th, 2018 10:01 am

    Trocarman The devil wouldn’t buy it.

  23. Catfish on August 17th, 2018 9:47 am

    Just hired two more people today

  24. retired on August 17th, 2018 9:12 am

    going to lose money, already in the hole, loaning money, and you want to give raises?????????????
    THAT IS THE WAY TO RUN A TOWN

  25. Bowhunter on August 17th, 2018 9:03 am

    TOWN OF CENTURY DIDN’T HAVE THE FUND’S FOR PAYROLL AT ONE TIME AND NOW HAWKINS IS WANTING TO GIVE EMPLOYEE’S A RAISE . I KNOW THEY NEED A RAISE AND COULD USE IT BUT I HAD RATHER SEE THEM HAVE A POSITION WITH THE TOWN RATHER THAN SEE SOMEONE LOSE THERE JOB OR GET ROLLED BACK DUE TO COST OVERRUN . HAWKINS SEEMS LIKE THE KIND OF FOOL THAT DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO ADD AND SUBTRACT .

  26. You're Kidding on August 17th, 2018 8:33 am

    LOL….you’re kidding me, right? First, you want to cut their benefits because it is costing the town too much. Then, you turn around and want to give them raises? I’m telling you, folks, you can’t make this stuff up! Beam me up, Scotty. There is no intelligent life form here in Century.

  27. chris on August 17th, 2018 8:22 am

    Lose money. Then spend even more. Then name it Century. Priceless.

  28. Stringbean Baby on August 17th, 2018 7:37 am

    And people in Hell want ice water.

  29. Trocarman on August 17th, 2018 5:51 am

    Sell Century

  30. Just saying on August 17th, 2018 5:37 am

    A pay raise for what driving around doing nothing

  31. Citizen on August 17th, 2018 2:52 am

    Sell the gas dept.





Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.