City Officials Working on '04 Budget

November 24, 2003 - Posted at 3:33 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Jonesboro officials are optimistic about next year's city budget.

According to Arkansas state law, each municipality must have yearly budgets completed and submitted by February 1.  But, Jonesboro officials say they're ahead of schedule for dealing with the 2004 budget, hoping to have it passed by next week.

"I am hoping that next week, next Monday, we will be able to take it to the council for passage," said Mayor Hubert Brodell.

City officials say a million dollars is the only thing standing in their way.  That's $13 million away from original estimates.

So, how did the city council get the budget down to $1.2 million?  They started with big ticket items like axing a proposed southwest fire station and now they're getting down to smaller items.  That includes such items as new uniforms, vehicles and work equipment.  Officials say the police department is likely to see a lot of small item cuts.  However, officials are optimistic the worst is over.  "Where we started, we figured we were about $14 million over.  So, when you come down to a million, we have had to do a lot of work to get it there," said Brodell.

"We make every effort to set up the books by December 31.  It must makes it easier on the accounting offices," said Finance Director Larry Flowers.

Still included in the budget is the added $1 million cost in salary increases.  Something Flowers says is not expected to change.