By Katherine R. Dougan
At noon on Wednesday, September 15, City of Clinton aldermen will vote to approve the FY21-22 proposed budget.
“The FY 2022 Budget continues the healthy financial growth of our city. This next fiscal year, the City will spend $3,166,904 in salary increases, additional police personnel and vehicles, beautification, and new equipment for both Parks and Recreation and Public Works. This budget also borrows $925,000 for the Quail Hollow and Pebble Brook projects from the water/sewer fund with a ten-year payback. The budget totals $18, 004,147,” Mayor Phil Fisher stated.
The $2.75 million allocated in the FY21-22 budget allows the City to continue work on the Lovett Wastewater Treatment Facility, Fisher said, adding that the balance of the project will come out of the FY22-23 budget.
Also included in the FY21-22 budget is a $72,000 salary to hire a lobbyist to represent the City to get Congressional Funding for the long-range Big Black Regional Sewer project, which will span ten years and cost $97 million. MDEQ regulations require Clinton to tap a new source to discharge treated wastewater, as Baker’s Creek is no longer adequate, and natural water flow is either too low or nonexistent in area creeks and streams.
Fisher said this is where hiring a lobbyist comes into the plan.
“Congress is the only source for such a large amount of money,” Fisher said. “We need someone that knows where to go and follow up on a consistent basis with the right people in Washington, D.C.”
Since cities all over the United States are facing similar infrastructure issues, the competition for funds is intense, Fisher explained. By constructing the new treatment plant and discharging into the Big Black River, the facility is expected to be adequate for the City for the next fifty years.
Other items in the FY21-22 budget include:
- A three percent increase in General Fund for salary increases, and a $15,011 increase to provide a vision care benefit for employees;
- Funding two additional police officers and funds to purchase five police cars;
- A salary review with adjustments made to increase salary deficiencies;
- Purchase of a new pickup truck for the Clinton Fire Department; two outdoor warning sirens, and four thermal-imaging cameras. Salary increases to align salaries with other cities’ are also included;
- $100,000 for street paving, which brings the budget line for paving to $1.3 million;
- $925,000 to repair a culvert on Quail Hollow and pipe issues along Pebble Brook. The City has maintenance responsibility for both of these problems. These funds are borrowed from the water/sewer fund, with a plan to repay the water/sewer fund with interest over a ten-year period;
- Two pickup trucks for Parks and Recreation, a maintenance foreman, a salary increase for the director of Parks and Recreation Director, and purchase of a robotic line-painting machine for the sports fields;
- $27,000 for the Main Street Department to host a Strategic Planning Process, or “Downtown Road Map.” The process will look at the progress made by the department, plot its direction and develop new goals for the future. In order to initiate spring and fall concert seasons, $10,000 was added to bring music to the Atmos Stage at Lions Club Park. $21,500 was added for new Christmas decorations for Olde Towne.
- The General Fund also added $18,000 for a contract grant writer. With new sources for grants available from Congress, Mayor Fisher said it is a good time to hire someone who that “talks the language of grant writing.”
A special meeting to discuss and adopt the FY 2021-22 combined budget for the City of Clinton will be held at noon on Wednesday, September 15, at the Brighton Park Assembly Room, 530 Brighton Park Drive. The entire budget can be viewed on the City’s website.