Alabaster mayor adjusts budgets :Money moved to buy everything from assault rifles to stamps

More than six months into the 2007 budget year, Alabaster Mayor David Frings reports nearly all departments in his city are &8220;right where they should be.&8221;

The mayor presented his mid-year financial report last Wednesday at the City Services Building.

Frings told the city council that revenues are exceeding expenditures and that virtually all city departments are at 50 percent of their 2007 budget.

&8220;Most departments had a zero need for an increase, but we did have to move a few things around,&8221; said Frings.

Some of the biggest changes came in Alabaster&8217;s police department, where the city adjusted the budget by $15,000 to buy 12 AR-15 assault rifles.

&8220;We are not wanting them to get into gunfights, but at the same time, we want them to be well-equipped,&8221; said Frings.

The police also needed $9,000 moved to its animal control division so more animals could be picked up through the summer.

The city also adjusted its parks and recreation budget to accommodate $6,900 in vandalism at Abbey Wooley, Depot and Warrior parks. The city&8217;s newsletter also needed $7,000 more &8212; mainly to pay for postage.

Frings recommended no changes in revenue projections, even though Alabaster&8217;s cash and investments are almost double compared to 2006.

So far this year, the city has $192,094 in cash and $3.1 million in CDs and money market funds.

&8220;I&8217;d rather exceed budget in revenue and just be happy if we get a whole lot of money we didn&8217;t expect,&8221; said Frings. &8220;We know we&8217;ll have increases in sales tax, but we didn&8217;t want to speculate on the new stores.&8221;

In other business:

-The city council will meet May 30 to discuss a proposed smoking ban. Councilman Bob Hicks hopes to present the resolution June 4 that would ban smoking in all public establishments &8212; including bars, restaurants and offices.

Hicks has been working on the resolution since March and said it is time to vote on the it.

&8220;If we have something definitive by the first meeting of June, I&8217;m a happy guy,&8221; said Hicks.

The resolution has the support of the Shelby County Coalition, Alabama Department of Public Health and the American Cancer Society.

However, several Alabaster officials, including Mayor Frings and councilmen Tommy Ryals and Rick Walters have repeatedly stressed their opposition to the ban. The three men have said the resolution may hurt businesses and invade personal rights