Lovejoy council adopts leaner 2013 budget

Mayor promises 2-mil tax cut

Photo by Jim Massara
Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright promises lower property taxes at Monday’s city council meeting.

Photo by Jim Massara Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright promises lower property taxes at Monday’s city council meeting.

Lovejoy’s city council adopted a 2013 fiscal-year budget Monday that Mayor Bobby Cartwright said will allow the municipality to cut property tax bills by 2 mils, fulfilling one of his campaign promises.

“If we adopt this budget tonight, we intend to reduce your property taxes,” Cartwright told the roughly 35 people in attendance.

The budget, which covers the period starting on July 1, anticipates revenues of about $2.66 million against expenditures of about $2.625 million, leaving excess revenue of about $35,000.

After the council unanimously approved adopting the budget, Cartwright thanked council members for what he said was the quickest budget process he had ever seen in Lovejoy. “It’s been painless,” he said.

Only one question was raised about the budget: Eleanore Stuart, senior liaison for the Lovejoy Community Center, asked why $80,000 had been budgeted for a city manager when Lovejoy hadn’t had one in six months.

Cartwright answered that the council had set aside the money against the possibility that Lovejoy might eventually hire a new city manager, but that budgeting didn’t necessarily mean the money would be spent.

“We put it there as something to consider, and we’ll look at it as time goes on,” added councilman Tommy Green. “Once things leave budgets, they don’t tend to come back. It gives you the ability to make decisions, that’s all.”

Cartwright said after the meeting that the every city department tightened its belt to make the leaner budget possible. Cuts included filling two full-time police positions with part-timers and repairing lawn mowers instead of buying new ones.

“We’ve been conservative, and that’s what we needed to do,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright, city clerk Marie Burnham, police chief Mark Harris and others have shared Lovejoy’s managerial chores since the city manager’s position became vacant when Sebastian Jackson’s contract wasn’t renewed last year. Cartwright said it was still possible that Jackson might eventually be replaced — but also suggested the possibility of Lovejoy having a full-time mayor who would take over those duties.

Will Lovejoy citizens see any difference in services with the leaner budget?

“They’ll see me do more,” Cartwright said with a smile.