0

Lovejoy over budget, adds $68,500 for cost hikes

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright (from left) poses with resident Donald Perkins and city council members Marci Fluellyn, Mary Ann Carp and Rebekah Holland Wright. Perkins is the founder of the Lovejoy Kappa League, a youth community service program. He was commended for his work with area teens.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright (from left) poses with resident Donald Perkins and city council members Marci Fluellyn, Mary Ann Carp and Rebekah Holland Wright. Perkins is the founder of the Lovejoy Kappa League, a youth community service program. He was commended for his work with area teens.

LOVEJOY — The City of Lovejoy is thousands of dollars over budget this year.

The city council voted Monday to amend its 2013 budget by adding $68,500 from reserves, including a line item for a granite monument tallying thousands of dollars.

The vote was unanimous.

The council increased allowances in eight line items for city hall and the parks and recreation and information technology departments.

Mayor Bobby Cartwright anticipates those items will take the city beyond its $2.2 million budget this year.

He said the amendments were made to offset unforeseen increased costs for products and services.

“It was because of actual increases in office supplies and premium insurance,” said Cartwright. “It was not something that the department heads did. Most of the increases were unforeseen items. The one thing that we added that was not unforeseen was the monument.”

Cartwright said the city will spend about $6,500 to erect a black granite monument at Mayor’s Park near city hall. The monument, honoring all branches of the U.S. military, is expected to be erected this summer.

The community events budget increased by $7,500, from $18,500. The group added $6,500 to its grounds maintenance and emergency account, which was originally $8,000. Maintenance and software funds were increased by $5,000, from $15,000.

Lovejoy’s insurance premiums allotment increased by $10,000, from $85,000. The budget for legal fees was amended to $3,000, up from $2,000 originally.

Year-to-date costs for office supplies were more than $5,000 than expected. The council increased that allowance by $15,000 up to $32,500.

Postage and delivery costs were also higher than expected, he said. The city amended its $4,000 postage and delivery budget and added $1,500 for those costs. Another $22,000 was added to city hall’s original accounting and auditing budget of $65,000.

The council plans to defray all those increased costs with funds from reserves, which is about $300,000 or three months’ worth of operating expenses, said Cartwright.

The council is making those increased costs a consideration in budget proposals for 2014.

Officials have proposed increases to six of this year’s eight amended items for next year, and council is expected to vote on the $2.3 million budget proposal at its May meeting.

Monday’s meeting also included recognitions and updates.

Donald Perkins was commended by the City Council for his work with area youth. He founded the Lovejoy High School chapter of The Kappa League in 2005, and he has helped lead dozens of male youth through the community service program ever since.

“Programs like this are needed now more than ever,” said Perkins. “We’re in the business of building men.”

The city also agreed to sponsor a local food ministry with a $145 monthly stipend to help purchase food items for six needy families in the Lovejoy area.

Cartwright, who used to support the ministry himself, said the funds would come from the Lovejoy Community Center budget.

The city will host a senior breakfast Saturday at 9 a.m. It will be in the community center, 11622 Hastings Bridge Road. The Block Party series will also begin at 1 p.m. in nearby Mayor’s Park.

Post I Councilman Tommy Green was absent from the meeting.