Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Owensboro budget in the black

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email | Twitter
OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) -  "You anticipate the worst and hope for the best," Mayor Ron Payne said. "That's exactly what our staff has been doing."
Despite an ambitious plan to revitalize its downtown, the city of Owensboro projects a $1 million budget surplus for the next fiscal year.
"We've been fortunate here in the city of Owensboro not to have felt the effects of the recession like other communities," Payne said. "Part of the reason is the diversification of our revenue streams. We have a good diversification of our revenue streams and that's helped us during these difficult times."
City officials are keeping their fingers crossed.
They will have more money coming in with roughly $600 million of construction projects, leading to an increase in occupational taxes.
One new item in the upcoming budget is another tax clerk responsible for collecting taxes on many of these new jobs.
"What this does is to allow our finance department staff to do the detective work of finding out who those folks are and have them contribute also to the community," City Manager Bill Parrish said. "They're gaining from the community in construction, they should be paying their fair share to help the community."
One item in the budget that was met with skepticism was nearly $400,000 to pave and expand the recycling center.
The city plans to add lights and security cameras after numerous complaints from the community.
The mayor also discussed possibly adding a transit bus that would run only up and down Frederica Street connecting downtown with Towne Square Mall.
The mayor also said he plans to start saving money for maintenance on the new riverfront.
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