Hoover council passes 2010 budget

Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos said he’s happy with the 2010 budget, even though the city is already five months into the 2010 fiscal year.

The budget is set at $84.6 million, a drop of about $3 million from the 2009 budget, which was $87.7 million.

Petelos said the reduced budget is a response to lower sales tax revenues.

To cut expenses, the city is eliminating six jobs. The positions will end March 31. However, four of those positions are currently filled, so those employees will have extra time before they have to leave, Petelos said.

The cut positions are in finance and building inspections.

“Our inspections have slowed down dramatically,” Petelos said. “We have some individuals that are ready for retirement, so they were able to retire. That worked out well.”

Petelos said he’s happy with the budget, mostly because the $3 million drop between 2009 and 2010 isn’t as pronounced as the drop between 2008 and 2009. The 2008 budget was $96 million, so the city had to deal with a difference of more than $8 million in 2009.

“I’m very happy that we didn’t drop as much as we did the previous year,” he said. “When you look at other cities and other county governments, they’re in much, much worse shape than we are, and I feel very fortunate.”

The city council also recently set a special election for citizens to vote on the Hoover School System’s proposal to extend a 24-mill property tax for April 27.

The property tax, which provides funding for the school system, already does not expire for 18 years.

By extending the tax, the school system would be able to refinance its debt, which is approximately $185 million.

The school system currently pays $16 million each year on debt. If the debt was refinanced, the system could make lower payments and save money.

The property tax provided $37 million for Hoover City Schools in the last fiscal year. The 24-mill tax is equal to $240 on a $100,000 home.