Friday, April 27, 2018

Marion struggling to make budget balance

With only a few weeks remaining before a new municipal spending plan must be approved, Marion City Council is facing some tough decisions to achieve a balanced budget.

The draft budget is currently $46,000 in the red, according to City Administrator Adam Ledford, leaving a wide gap that somehow has to be closed. That means that between now and the start of a new fiscal year on July 1, extensive cuts, new revenue or a combination of the two will have to be found.

But the gap in revenue and spending was close to being and even wider chasm before state lawmakers recently approved some relief to local governments.

In the final two days of the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly regular session, the legislature overturned a gubernatorial veto of a measure to phase in a hike to mandated employer contributions to the public employee retirement system. Had that veto override not succeeded, the city would have been facing a divide of more than $100,000 to equalize expenses with revenue.

House Bill 362 will bump the city’s estimated payment, according to a Kentucky League of Cities study, to $184,165 for the coming fiscal year. That’s an increase of almost $20,000 to the current year’s payment. But had action not been taken over the weekend, the additional hit would have been more than $76,000.

The legislation caps the year-over-year increase in employer contributions at 12 percent per year for no more than 10 years, moving the rate to 21.48 percent of salaries for Fiscal Year 2019. Before the measure, Kentucky cities were .... for more on this article, see the April 19, 2018 printed edition of The Crittenden Press. Archives papers are available at the newspaper office or online with a subscription