Pelham budgeting for new school system

Pelham leaders are budgeting for the city's upcoming school system in the upcoming fiscal year. (File)

Pelham leaders are budgeting for the city’s upcoming school system in the upcoming fiscal year. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham leaders are anticipating a 1 cent sales tax increase to raise about $400,000 per month for the city education fund, according to preliminary budget numbers discussed during a recent council work session.

During the Sept. 23 work session, council members met with the city’s department heads to discuss budget requests for the 2014 fiscal year, which will begin in October.

While reviewing his portion of the proposed budget, city Finance Director Tom Seale forecast about $4.8 million in revenues for the city’s education fund for the 2014 fiscal year. Seale predicted “conservatively” about $400,000 will come into the city’s education fund per month.

In July, the City Council voted to raise the city’s sales tax by 1 cent to fund the city’s education fund.

According to the ordinance passed by the council, the education fund “shall be expended to support public education for the residents of Pelham, and for any other expenses deemed necessary for the support of the public schools located within the city limits of Pelham, as directed and appropriated by the City Council.” The sales tax increase went into effect on Sept. 1.

On Sept. 9, the council voted unanimously to form a Pelham board of education and eventually form a Pelham school system separate from the Shelby County School System.

Until the council interviews and appoints the school board members, the city will hold the school fund in escrow, Seale said.

“As soon as the school board is established, you will transfer that fund to them,” Seale said.

Overall, Pelham’s sales tax collections are up about $800,000 from last year, Seale said.

The council will review the proposed city budget over the next few weeks before finalizing the document and voting on it during an upcoming meeting. The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Monday, Oct. 7.