Jonesboro City Council reviews proposed 2010 budget

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

"I would challenge anybody to take this budget apart and improve on it.   I don't believe it's possible," said Jonesboro City Council Alderman, John Street.

Alderman John Street calls the proposed 2010 budget thoroughly filled with reliable data in a user-friendly layout.

"I'm here to tell you that's about as good as you're going to get," said Street.

Street says considering the economy, and dismal news from other cities around the state and country,  Jonesboro has weathered this economic storm better than others.  He says part of protecting the city from economic downturns is planning ahead.

"We're looking at a three year budgeting cycle which is something a city our size really needs to be concentrating on for the future," said Street.

"We're trying to do the best we can to get a balanced budget, and it's just going to be a fight for everybody," said Mikel Fears.

First year alderman Mikel Fears says coming into office, he knew the budget had to get back on track, and says among the first steps, was a cutback on spending.

"I don't like the budget. I don't like what we've had to do to it with the lay offs in the city and cuts in the city departments, but it's a fact that when you don't have the revenues coming in, you can't have the expenditures," said Fears.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the proposed budget could be passed as early as Tuesday at the regularly scheduled meeting. Even then, work is not done.

"What we've got to do is be good stewards of every dollar that we expense out," said Perrin.

Perrin says the city will be keeping a close eye on the numbers.

"If revenue continues to go down, then myself and the administration will have to look for further reductions and expenses, and that's going to be tough," said Perrin.

Alderman John Street says he's optimistic numbers will  improve, and says he hopes recent good news will carry months and years into the future.

"For the last couple of months, each month's sales tax revenue has increased, so hopefully, this last quarter will even be better," said Street.

There was also a presentation about a new salary plan for the City of Jonesboro.  A plan the mayor calls more flexible and would have software that would design job descriptions and pay scale.

Council members and the mayor are encouraging people with questions about the proposed budget to attend a Finance Committee meeting at 5:45 on Tuesday at the Huntington Building in Downtown Jonesboro.

No items were voted on at Thursday's meeting.

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