published Monday, January 27th, 2014

Board starts process to amend budget

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. ­— Some unforeseen expenses have cropped up over the last six months, so city leaders will have to amend South Pittsburg’s budget to cover them.

City Administrator Sammy Burrows said the extra expenditures were not included in this fiscal year’s budget, and state law requires the money be appropriated before it’s spent.

The flood that struck the town on July 10, 2013, washed away a bridge in the Richard City area, officials said, and a large section of road on Birch Avenue was destroyed.

The Marion County Highway Department repaired those two problems and sent the city a bill for $4,100 this month.

Another expense city leaders didn’t see coming occurred when the state comptroller’s office ordered South Pittsburg to pay interest on $802,890 it has to repay its utility company from what was deemed an illegal fund transfer in December 2009.

That will cost the city an additional $4,100 this fiscal year.

“So there’s $8,200 that we have to appropriate into the budget,” Burrows said. “We have a lot of people that kind of question what the city is doing with their money, and what I like to say is if you want to know, my door is always open.”

The money to pay both bills will be taken from the city’s “insurance recovery” budget line item, he said, which originally had a budget of $51,000.

“We have collected $71,000 to date, so there’s money there that we can appropriate out of that to cover these two items,” Burrows said.

The South Pittsburg City Commission unanimously approved the ordinance on first reading.

Under South Pittsburg’s current city charter, the ordinance will have to pass three separate readings to be approved.

The board is in the process of changing the charter to allow for only two readings, which is typical across the state.

“This is a good example of how cumbersome these three readings are,” Mayor Jane Dawkins said. “All we’re trying to do is pay a bill. That’s just the bottom line.”

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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