Smyrna Finance Director: City Operating Efficiently
“I think the employees need to have a comfort level to know that their elected officials have their best interest at heart.’’ - Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon
Smyrna Finance Director Robert Porche told the city council last week that through the first six months of the fiscal year, the city is operating at a much more efficient pace this year than last.
“Our revenue is down, but we’re spending a lot less,’’ Porche told Mayor Max Bacon and the council. “The sentiment here is that we need to live within our means.”
Through Dec. 31, 2011, the City of Smyrna collected $26.1 million during the current fiscal year as opposed to $26.3 million last year. “Revenue is down as expected, however, expenditures are down,’’ Porche said. “We’ve expended $17.04 million, which is $683,000 less than we expended at this time last year.’’
He went on to explain how the city had collected 97 percent of its property taxes with more billing notices going out this month. Revenue generated from Sunday Sales licensing and prisoner housing were two reasons the city was trending in the right direction.
Porche said that repair and maintenance costs were high in the expenditure category.
“Just so our folks know, we don’t have a money machine or a goose that throws out golden eggs,’’ Bacon said. “All the money we have is what we operate on. I’m sure we’ll get things back in order…We have to work outside the box; establish new ideas.”
Later, Bacon told Patch that Smyrna was not only committed to operating fiscally sound for its citizens, but was focused on taking care of its employees, too.
“I think the employees need to have a comfort level to know that their elected officials have their best interest at heart,’’ Bacon said. “I want to thank every city employee for the work that they do. We haven’t had much turnover.”
Nor have they employees had a raise in three years. Bacon did say that every employee received a $1,000 bonus less taxes at the end of 2011.
“I worry every day about us maintaining their benefits so that when they retire, they can have a good retirement,’’ he explained. “I’ve said this before, I don’t want to see us get bigger government. I want to see us maintain the government we have, with the amount of people we have.
“This last budget year, not only did we give the employees a little bonus, but we took excess funds we had and put money in health benefits and retirement to help protect our employees. I think that’s important that when you have a surplus of funds that you invest back into what has made this city a great city and it’s our employees.”