Budget Deadlines Loom

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The problem really is simple. Too many wants or needs. Not enough money to fund them.

For example, Ward 1 city councilman Dr. George Thomas explained last night the city will no longer give money to charitable organizations or help fund kid baseball and softball teams who qualify for national or regional tournaments.

"Just for the public's information, we had a work session today and basically the concept of the city giving money to charitable organizations recommended that that be done away with and the citizens choose which charities they want to give money to rather than the city collecting a tax and giving that money to a charity," said Thomas.

After crafting what it saw as a workable budget, the council looked again and decided it might have to cut another 1 percent from each department.

"That one percent reduction would be spread among the departments," said Thomas. "Each department would reduce their budget by one percent which would take off $264,000 out of the general fund budget."

It is no different for Lauderdale County, as District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell pointed out Tuesday.

"If there was very little growth the people don't have but very little money to pay for their taxes," said Boswell. "They don't have a lot of extra money to pay taxes. So you need to live just like all the people of this county, state and this nation and do sometimes with a little less."

But some increases can't be avoided according to county administrator Rex Hiatt.

"The increases are for 3 percent cost of living pay raises and the increases in health insurance," said Hiatt. "Everybody's been pretty well cut back to where they were this year or lower."

Time is running out for a final version of each budget to be adopted. By state law the budgets must be approved and in place before Oct. 1.