Calera City Council approves 2014 budget

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013


CALERA – The Calera City Council approved its 2014 budget Sept. 16, through which the city reinstated step raises for current city employees, absorbed most of the cost of rising insurance premiums and funded new positions in the police, fire and parks departments.

With the approved budget, the city of Calera is expected to receive about $19.8 million in total revenues and will spend $15.9 million in expenditures excluding capital projects and debt service. After a regularly scheduled debt service payment of about $3 million, the city is expected to have about $900,000 left in the bank.

“The bottom line shows a good healthy number after the debt service is paid off, but you can’t look at the bottom line without looking at the capital requests,” Calera Mayor Jon Graham said at the Sept. 17 meeting, where he encouraged department heads to “remain frugal” in their spending and present the council with their “most pressing needs.”

“We’ll address them as we go,” Graham said.

Regarding the step raises for city employees – 3 percent raises that begin on each employee’s hire date anniversary but have been frozen since 2008 – Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said he appreciated the council’s hard work.

“It’s a huge morale boost to the employees,” Lemley said.

Finance director Roy Hadaway said the raises would go into effect beginning Feb. 2014 once the freeze ends Jan. 31.

The city has also absorbed the majority of a 5 percent increase in insurance premium costs for city employees in the new budget. Graham said the city has absorbed 100 percent of the increase for singles and 75 percent of the increase for families. For family insurance coverage, city employees will see a $6 per month increase, Graham said.

The budget also includes the cost for additional city employees including 10 fireman, four police officers and two park employees, which are all being funded by the one-cent sales tax increase that began in June, Hadaway said. Funds from the tax increase have also been used to cover a bond repayment plan for the I-65 bridge expansion and the city park complex.