The finance committee at a meeting Tuesday night decided to recommend to the full city council that money be borrowed from one department of Trenton Municipal Utilities to assist another department in paying costs of a major project. Such action is being recommended after the committee and council members were discouraged from doing so by a financial adviser, bond attorney, and city auditor.
The recommendation currently is to take a $1,000,000 from the wastewater reserves and borrow $2,000,000 from the electric department reserves to cover the estimated $3,000,000 cost of the headworks improvements at the sewer plant.
The proposal suggests payback over a 20 year period with the initial interest rate set at one half of a percent. Council members feel that by doing an intra-departmental loan, TMU will save citizens considerable interest expense by not having a rate rate if the money were borrowed via a conventional loan from a banking institution. Documents will need to be prepared regarding specifics of the intra-department loan.
It was mentioned taking $2,000,000 from the electric fund reserves will reduce that two about $2,700,000, still leaving it $500,000 above the minimum reserve amount the council previously established.
The TMU budget for the fiscal year beginning in May was presented for review. But with the changes recommended, the budget will now be adjusted and then come before the city council for action. It’ll project 2019-2020 revenues and expenses minus depreciation in the electric, water, and waste water departments.
The finance committee last night voted to recommend the full council approve a proposed deficit for the city of Trenton budget in the coming fiscal year. Figures indicate a deficit of approximately $121,000 for the one year period. Revenue is listed at more than $2,942,000. Another $235,000 of income will be transferred to the city from the road fund. Expenditures are listed at more than $3,237,000.
Finance Committee Chairman Travis Elbert said the expenses include $61,000 that moves from the general fund to capital projects to make a payment on the asphalt plant loan. He noted $43,000 was included as a one year expense to have an assistant to the nuisance and code enforcement officer. Donnie Vandevender plans to retire in about a year. And city funds for housing demolitions were increased by $10,000 to have a total of $30,000 allocated.
Elbert reported hourly employees of the city and TMU receive a 25 cent per hour increase in the new budget. Salaries were increased by $520 dollars each for the city administrator / utility director; the city clerk; police chief; fire chief; street superintendent, as well as the code enforcement officer. Compensation remains the same for Mayor and council members.
Mayor Nick McHargue described employment as stable for police, fire, and street departments, noting Trenton’s new asphalt plant will generate additional revenue for the city. Elbert praised department heads with good budget management.