The Register town council wrestled with ideas about how to make up a deficit in the town’s budget for fiscal year 2010-11.
Council members reviewed budget worksheets, with projected revenues and expenditures for each of the town’s three departments - Police Fund, Water Fund and General Fund.
Mayor James Oates detailed expenditures of each budget, concluding that the current revenue projections versus expenditures results in a deficit of $47,070.
“We’re going to have to have enough come out of there to take care of that deficit,” said Oates.
Oates said he wanted council’s input and implored council to review the budgets over the next couple of weeks.
“We need to cut where we can,” said Oates, “but still give good service to the people.”
Concerning the accounting and audit expenditure of the General Fund, former Mayor Katie O’Grady offered comment after Oates suggested that expenditure might be cut from $5,000 to $2,500.
“We [past council] deferred it [audit] to this coming year,” said O’Grady. “So $5,000 would cover it, since it will be for two audits.”
Other suggestions made by Oates were to cut the town clerk’s salary, cut the police clerk’s hours and salary, reduce the amount needed for repair and maintenance of the water department, and to reduce the amount needed for police uniforms.
Oates recommended holding police court every other month rather than once a month, which he stated would cut municipal court expenses in half, and said that lights in the Register Community Park could be changed, resulting in several hundred dollars in savings.
Council members were again called upon by Oates to review the budget and make their recommendations.
“We need to see what we can do without,” said Oates, “and cut.”
Also on the agenda was MSO Water Systems’ past installation of back-flow preventers for the town’s water meters.
“There are questions about the workmanship of the work done,” said Oates.
Giving a detailed example of one back-flow preventor installation that he stated he knew was faulty, Oates stated, “This is about the safety of the water system. Back-flow preventers are about keeping any contaminants from entering our water system.”
Oates suggested that the town engage the State regulatory agency to “spot-check” some of the back-flow preventer installations to see if any corrections are needed.
Councilman Donald Kiltz and Mayor Pro Tem Donnie Roberts asked about the cost to the town.
Oates said he was unsure about the cost but that, “...it’s a simple process to cross-check for correctness. We can’t know until we check them out.”
Council agreed with pursuing the mayor’s stated course of action.
In other business, councilman Donnie Roberts asked about the possibility of the town being supplied with natural gas.
“Where do we stand with getting natural gas,” asked Roberts?
Oates explained that the only issue was having enough residents in favor of same.
“They’re [Statesboro Gas] ready,” said Oates, “We just need enough residents who say they want it.”
Guests of the council meeting were Bulloch County Commissioners, Anthony Simmons and Ray Mosley.
Mosley, a newly-appointed Commissioner, stated that he was glad to be introduced to the people in the community.
“If there’s something I can do, please give me a call,” said Mosley.
Up for re-election, Simmons has been a Commissioner for the past sixteen years.
“I know how to get things done,” said Simmons. “I’ve always been a telephone call away.”