Many Century Departments Over Budget; Council Concerned About Spending

April 8, 2008

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“We’ve already shot this budget to hell and back,” is how Century Town Councilman Henry Hawkins described the current condition of the town’s budget. “If we ain’t careful, we are going to be flat broke.”

Century Town Council members spent nearly 40 minutes at their regular meeting Monday night questioning bills and budget items presented to them by Town Clerk Dorothy Sims.

Hawkins pointed out that the town’s water and sewer department was nearly $3,000 over budget for employee bonuses.

“You mean they paid over what is in the budget,” Council Member Anne Brooks said. “They paid more than was budgeted?”

Sims said that in the past the council would amend the budget after too much was spent to reflect the overage, all after the fact. “We don’t just do them (budget admendments) everytime we go over,” she told the council.

“I think we need to amend before we spend,” Brooks said.

“When you look at this, we are overspent in every department,” Hawkins said. “You don’t do that and then amend the budget…than a red flag needs to be raised. Then we amend the budget, or we don’t do it.”

The town had budgeted $9,350 for capital outlay, or improvements, to town parks. As of the end of January, the department had spent almost $30,000. Some of that money will be repaid by grants, Mayor Freddie McCall told the council.

$2,500 was budgeted for office supplies. The town had spent $3,600. $1,500 was budgeted for street department equipment maintenance. As of the end of January, $3,865 had been spent. The water and sewer department is $4,200 over budget for plant and pump maintenance. The water and sewer department is $2,500 over budget in their miscellaneous category.

“It’s just that so many of the accounts are over,” Brooks said. “It looks like we did not do a good job budgeting.”

Each month, the council receives a bill list of the bills to be paid. It is just that: a list of bills and amounts. But Hawkins said he wants the council to start seeing the actual bills.

“I think it would be fair to us (the council), if we got a copy of all of the bills,” Hawkins told Sims.

“You want a copy of every bill…can you not come in and look at them,” Sims responded.

“I called and left messages for you twice today to see the bill list,” Brooks said.

“I didn’t know that,” Sims said.

After 38 minutes of discussion, a motion by Council Member Nadine McCaw to pay the town’s bills passed 4-0, with Council Member Sharon Scott absent.

Pictured above: Century Town Clerk Dorothy Sims holds an accordion file full of the town’s bills for the month at Monday night’s Century Town Council meeting.

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