By Keysha Drexel
The Mountain Brook City Council last week approved a fiscal 2014 budget that reflects a surplus.
On Sept. 23, the city council approved the new budget that projects $32.9 million in general revenue and $32.4 million in spending.
The revenue budget is up 1.9 percent from last year’s budget and expenses have increased by 2.5 percent over the previous budget, according to city documents.
City Manager Sam Gaston said the city was conservative in its revenue projections for the new fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1.
The city expects to bring in about $1.1 million from automobile taxes and about $13.5 million from property tax revenue, which is about the same as in last year’s budget.
In preparing the 2014 budget, city officials said they took into account the planned closing of the Crestline Piggly Wiggly.
Months after it was announced that the store might lose its lease and be replaced by another business, Mountain Brook residents are still rallying to keep the grocery store open. Crestline Piggly Wiggly supporters filled the city council chambers on Sept. 24 and asked city officials what they could do to save the store.
The store is scheduled to close at the end of November, according to owner Andy Virciglio.
With that closing in mind, the city projected a slight decrease in sales tax revenue of $9.45 million compared to $9.55 million in fiscal year 2013.
The new budget also includes a 1 percent across-the-board pay increase for city employees with a price tag of $170,000 and a 5 percent increase in medical insurance premiums.
The fiscal year 2014 budget also projects a 5.2 percent increase in construction permits.
Major capital projects funded in the new budget include $450,000 for the development of Cahaba River Park and $984,000 in street paving projects.
The budget also includes money to pay $212,000 to install a Verizon distributed antenna system for Mountain Brook Junior High School and Cherokee Bend Elementary School to improve phone communication and school safety at those sites.
The city will spend $145,000 to buy three marked patrol vehicles and $492,771 for mobile data units and related software for the police department.
The police department also received money for a $32,000 motorcycle for the patrol unit and $131,150 for weapons and accessories.
The city also plans on spending $49,000 to hire an additional patrol officer to replace the officer who has been moved to School Resource Officer duty.
The fire department received $47,000 in the budget to pay for renovations at Fire Stations 2 and 3.
The budget also included $124,000 for firefighter turnout gear and helmets and $39,000 for four thermal imaging cameras.
The public works department received $192,074 for five vehicles, $83,056 for an excavator and $11,000 for a vehicle lift and tire machine.
The parks and recreation department was approved for $61,000 to purchase trucks and mowers.
The Emmet O’Neal Library received $54,000 for new carpet and furniture, $30,000 for a telephone system and $17,000 for a security system in the new budget.
The city plans to spend $150,000 on a pedestrian bridge along U.S. 280 and $64,000 on drainage improvements.