As part of the million-dollar drop in town revenue reflected in the Bethlehem comptroller’s report earlier this month, the rainy summer didn’t only put a damper on weekends and vacations it also took a bite out of municipal water and sewer receipts.
The Town Board voted unanimously during its Wednesday, Aug. 26, meeting to recognize $33,373 decrease of revenue for the town sewer fund as well as a $17,600 drop in expenditures for the same fund. The water fund lost $16,381 in revenue but dropped its expenditures by $20,400.
Comptroller Suzanne Traylor told the board about the $1.09 million revenue loss in mid August as part of her six-month budget update. In order to adjust for the drop in revenue, which was attributed mainly to drops in sales tax and mortgage tax revenues, the Town Board unanimously voted at that meeting to decrease town expenditures by $968,050 and use $122,427 of the fund balance to make up the difference.
You can tell right now our revenue is significantly lower than in 2008,` Traylor told the board at the presentation. `Which is no surprise to any of us. We knew this was coming.`
Supervisor Jack Cunningham said the latest revenue adjustment was a part of Traylor’s original presentation and that no additional money was being taken for the town’s fund balance.
`In general what’s happening is we’re not selling as much water as we normally do,` he said on Thursday, Aug. 27. `The sewer usage gets calculated through water usage. For every gallon of water used, we calculate a gallon of sewage.`
Cunningham said because of FEMA money given to the highway department for work done last year, the town board has shifted some reimbursed funding back into the fund balance.
The Town Board also unanimously approved a 2009 budget modification to the highway fund at the Aug. 26 meeting an increase of revenue of $214,820 from the FEMA money and a decrease in expenditures of $17,600. The overall result was a decrease in the use of fund balance of $344,820.
`There’s no additional money coming out of the fund balance,` Cunningham told The Spotlight.
When asked by Councilman Kyle Kotary about future projections, Traylor told him that Sept. 30 numbers will show the third-quarter numbers, but that if the numbers are bad, Bethlehem `may need to do a third-quarter mid-budget cut.`
The town is currently in the middle of workshops for the 2010 town budget, which began Monday, Aug. 17, and have continued throughout August. They were originally started by Cunningham after he was appointed supervisor, and he has continued the practice through his first term of office.
The final budget workshop will be held Monday, Sept. 21, at the Town Hall auditorium from 6 to 8 p.m. The workshop will include the comptroller’s review of preliminary tax rates and overall budgets as well as the comptroller presentations on salary; heath insurance; fringe benefits; and revenue assumptions.
A tentative 2010 town budget will be presented at the Wednesday, Sept. 23, Town Board meeting, and a public hearing on the budget will be held Oct. 28 before the board votes on the adoption of the final new budget on Nov. 10.