Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lebanon passes budget on 2nd reading

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Craighead went on to say increases are in the budget, including six firefighters, higher fuel and healthcare costs, as well as increases in pay for some employees. He explained many employee salaries were below the entry-level amount and they bumped their pay up a little.

We did a few raises for some that were below the entry-level, which equals a one-step raise, about 2-1/2 percent, he said.

With another year of tackling a deficit, some councilors voiced displeasure with an increase in expenditures and said they would not support a budget containing a deficit in the future.

Cesternino said he will support this years budget, but indicated he would no longer vote in favor of a budget that contains deficit spending.

This is the last budget cycle that Im going to support any deficit spending, he said. Im actually very concerned about next years budget.

Warmath said the budget increased this year by $500,000 compared to 2011-2012. She said there is still plenty of room to make cuts and lower expenditures.

There are numerous opportunities to make cuts, she said. Government seems to be expanding while our economy contracts. If government expands, there are more liabilities and that costs the taxpayers.

Cesternino said he is pleased the council did not consider a property tax increase, although he said that might be necessary in the future if the proposed sales tax referendum is not approved by the citizens of Lebanon.

Craighead proposed raising the citys sales taxes by 0.5 percent, from 2.25 to 2.75 percent. Commissioner of Finance and Revenue Russell Lee said that increase would give the city an extra $3.5 million.

Were wanting to move our city forward and we can do that without putting the full burden on the citizens with a property tax, the mayor said of the sales tax increase.

Council plans to hold a work session in the near future to discuss what the city would do with the sales tax revenue if the increase passed the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot. Cesternino encouraged every Lebanon citizen to call or come to any work sessions and meetings to be informed on the sales tax increase.

"If you're not sure about the sales tax increase, please, call us," he said.

Budget breakdown

Information supplied to council by Lee indicates sales tax collections for the month of August were up six percent compared to August 2011 and year-to-date collections were up eight percent. Lee said sales tax revenue is estimated to increase by $450,000 for an estimated total of $8,100,000.

Salary increases for the Step 1 raises amounted to $293,000 in the 2012-2013 budget. Lee indicated $182,000 of that is from the General Fund.
Six additional firemen will cost the city $190,700 to the General Fund. A new mechanic position will cost $36,100 to the General Fund and $48,200 total.
Police Chief Scott Bowen plans to add an additional officer for the Lebanon Housing Authority for $35,000 to General Fund. The total cost is split between city and Housing Authority.
Updated fuel allocations will cost $75,000 to the General Fund and a total of $105,000.
Healthcare costs for the city are expected to increase 4.5 percent and retirement costs are expected to decrease by 0.55 percent to a rate of 0.1413 percent.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

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