Montevallo adopts $5.5-million budget

Published 2:32 pm Friday, September 28, 2018

By NANCY WILSTACH / Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – Montevallo city employees can look for a little more green in their paychecks following the 5-0 vote Thursday evening to adopt a $5.5 million budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Besides the 3 percent raises, city workers can breathe a sigh of relief that the budget anticipates their employer’s absorbing an expected 6 percent increase in the cost of health insurance.

Little has changed since the initial budget draft was presented to the council Sept. 10. Thursday’s meeting was a special called meeting to ensure that the budget was adopted before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Only Council Member Rusty Nix found any fault with the spending plan, and he acknowledged that his dissatisfaction with $500 being donated to the Mo Yo yoga event at the University of Montevallo was not enough to keep him from voting for the budget.

Nix noted that UM benefits from expenditures from the Montevallo Development Cooperative District (MDCD) which receives 90 percent of the proceeds from one penny of the city’s sales tax.  The approximately $550,000 contribution to MDCD should be the source of city participation in university activities, he said.  MDCD is a consortium of the city, UM and Shelby County.

Mayor Hollie Cost said that she regards the $500 as token support to an event that brings visitors into the city who then spend money in shops and restaurants.

The new budget reflects the council’s decision to contribute $8,000 to the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce that enables the chamber to make the job of executive director a full-time position. However, Cost told Chamber Executive Director Steve Gilbert that the city and chamber need to draw up a memorandum of agreement to spell out what each party is expected to do for the other.

Gilbert organized the recent inaugural Tinglewood Festival, and already is at work on the next one, an event supported by $10,000 in the new budget.

The Tinglewood Festival revolves around the art of chainsaw carving, a niche inspired by the Tim Tingle’s carvings in Montevallo’s Orr Park.

The festival’s central feature was five professional chainsaw carvers, each sculpting four half logs as the public watched. At the end of the day the carvings were auctioned to benefit next year’s event.

Gilbert told the council he already was working on the 2019 Tinglewood Festival, scheduled for Sept. 7.

The city’s principal revenue source is its sales and use tax, with 4.1 cents on each retail dollar (after the MDCD’s share is deducted) expected to bring in roughly $2.4 million, given current economic conditions.

The city receives other revenue from property taxes, alcohol excise taxes, gasoline tax and rentals of city facilities, the city cemetery and court fines and costs. Some of those revenues, such as the gasoline levies, are earmarked for specific types of expenditures.

The 2017-18 budget planned $5.2 million in income and expenditures.  The city stayed within that budget.

Voting for the new budget, in addition to Cost and Nix, were Council Members Willie Goldsmith, Jason Peterson and Matt Walker; Tiffany Bunt was absent.