Trussville Mayor Predicts $27 Million in Revenue
by Tina Tidmore
Trussville Mayor Gene Melton presented his “state of the city” speech at the Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce on July 19. He predicts $27 million in revenue for the general fund for the fiscal year. Melton expects the amount coming in from the new 1 percent sales tax to be over $6 million
While the national news includes announcements of municipal bankruptcies Melton said, “We’re solid; we’re sound; we’ve got a solid reserve fund.”
He credits the Trussville City Council for keeping the city financially sound despite the Great Recession.
“Hats off to our city council in making hard decisions up front to prepare for the catastrophic event,” Melton said.
Because of the economic downturn, many capital improvement projects were postponed. So, the new 1 percent money has been set aside just to catch up on these needs. A line of credit was established to provide a cash flow to do the projects. The 1 percent tax revenue will then be used to pay off that debt.
One of the main uses of this money is road projects. Melton said the reason the city’s gas taxes are not enough to cover these needs is because the city ended up doing some of the road projects that were formally handled by Jefferson County. Melton said the major artery roads are being addressed now, because if the roads around commercial areas are bad, people will stop coming to Trussville to shop.
Slicker, improved roads tend to cause drivers to drive faster. So, the police are watching these roads closely after the improvements, Melton said.
Repaving Trussville Clay Road, a project which will start soon, is being funded by the Alabama Department of Transportation. This is likely to be finished by spring of next year, Melton said.
The city’s revenue is expected to gradually increase in the next year, but Melton said it will be watched closely in case adjustments need to be made again.
“The future is uncertain,” he said.
An unexpected expense from January is the $1 million in cleaning up after the tornado that hit Pilgrim’s Rest and Legacy subdivisions in Trussville.
“That’s why it’s important to have a reserve fund,” said Melton.
The city’s decision to transfer vehicles to natural gas is saving the city money. Melton said the city’s annual budget for fuel had been $320,000. But using natural gas has lowered it by $200,000 a year down to about $120,000 a year.
The Chevron station on Deerfoot Parkway is installing a natural gas pump for public use. Melton said. Although transferring vehicles from unleaded gas to natural gas is an extra cost, Melton said it saves $17,000 per vehicle over five years.
“North America is sitting on the largest natural gas reserves in the world,” said Melton. “We need to buy from here instead of buying oil from over sees.”
To this comment, Trussville Councilman Brian Plant responded with an “Amen” from the audience.
Mayor Gene Melton said he has received phone calls from Trussville residents asking him to tell the Trussville City Schools Board what to do. “I don’t run the school board,” Melton said.
He said the only action the city could take is to cut off the funding. But that would cut programs from the schools that will affect the students.
As illustrated by Birmingham’s school board, once a school board is formed, it comes under the authority of the state, Melton explained.
At this time, 25 percent of the school’s 1 percent sales tax is going into a trust to make sure they have a reserve fund.