City budget includes $95,000 in school donations

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster will donate nearly $15,000 more to the schools in its city limits than it did last year, according to budget details recently released by city officials.

According to the city’s recently passed budget for the 2012 fiscal year, the city will donate $95,000 to its schools over the next year. Last year, the city donated $80,400 to the schools.

“(We have) added more funding to that line item this year to allow for direct grants to schools for books, etc.,” said Alabaster City Administrator George Henry.

The direct grants will help the schools to cope with recent state education budget cutbacks, city officials previously said.

The city budgeted about $22.3 million in revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, and about $22 million in expenses for its general fund. Henry said the projected revenues are slightly up from last year, and the projected expenditures are slightly down by about 1 percent each.

“We are saving a few hundred grand in debt payments this year because of bond refinancing to take advantage of significantly lower rates,” Henry said. “That will equate to approximately $700,000 in total savings.”

Alabaster’s garbage budget revenues are projected at $1.88 million, and the department’s expenditures are projected at about $1.876 million. The sewer budget revenues are projected at about $4.75 million, and the department’s expenses are projected at about $4.55 million.

Major general fund revenues will come from sales and use taxes, which are projected at $12 million, ad valorem taxes, which are projected at $3.3 million, and business licenses, which are projected at $2.6 million.

Major general fund expenses are about $1.1 million for payments on a general obligation warrant issued in 2005 for infrastructure upgrades for the Colonial Promenade shopping center.

Alabaster also budgeted about $11.1 million for payroll for the city’s 262 employees in the city’s sewer, revenue, public works, police, personnel, parks and recreation, library, fire, elected officials, court, building and administration departments.

The city also budgeted $359,130 for fuel expenses for its various departments, which Henry said was up from last year.

The budget also included $10,500 for new equipment such as an emergency response all-terrain vehicle, Jaws of Life-type devices and firefighter turnout gear for the Alabaster Fire Department.