Maysville City Commissioners and Mayor Charles Cotterill held the first reading Tuesday of a budget fiscal year 2019-2020 that would take about $750,000 from the city’s reserves to balance.

The move would leave the city with $10.25 million in its contingency fund.

During a budget workshop held last week, City manager Matt Wallingford said the $750,000 deficit represents a worst-case scenario for the city with a more likely final deficit of $150,000-$200,000, he said.

An increase in the city’s contribution to employee pensions and the addition of a new floodwall pump are primarily responsible for a projected deficit, Wallingford explained last week. The city has received a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant to help pay for the $500,000 pump, he said, but the city is still responsible for an additional $250,000 to cover the pump along with funding for piping and electrical upgrades.

The city also expects to be on the hook for $200,000 in pension contributions as the state pension fund crisis continues, Wallingford said.

Under the budget given initial approval Tuesday, revenues are estimated at $13 million in the general fund with almost $9 million of the total coming from licenses and permits, nearly a $1 million from property taxes. There is also another $4.5 million in revenue from the utility fund. With $24 million including reserves available for appropriations, major appropriations include $3.6 million for general government, $2.6 million for police, $2.8 for fire and $2.7 for public works and streets and $4.6 million for utility.

Almost every department experienced budget cuts during budget workshop sessions. City employees will receive a 1.5 percent raise July 1 with consideration for an additional 1.5 percent in January if funds are available.

Also Tuesday,the city held a first reading of an ordinance abolishing the utility commission’s board.

The city absorbed the utility commission as a department in 2017. While discussion was held early on to dissolve the board, city commissioners finally settled on keeping the board in an advisory position.

The utility commission is one of only two paid routinely for its work, according to information provided at that time by Wallingford. Utility commissioners were paid $300 monthly or $3,600 annually. That number was later cut to $150 per month or $1,800 annually.

Wallingford said the board’s dissolution was discussed in budget workshops as a cost-cutting measure. He also pointed out the board has no regulatory power or authority.

The first reading passed with only Commissioner Kelly Ashley voting against the measure.

The Maysville Cemetery will also cease to exist if commissioners approve an ordinance dissolving that board at Thursday’s meeting.

The board has met just a few times in the last several years and also serves only in an advisory capacity.

The Main Street Board will also be on the chopping block Thursday as most officials agreed the board has become too large to operate smoothly and that meeting state and national requirement for the program have become an issue.

Main Street Director Caroline Reece admitted that she is “tortured” over the board’s loss but said she would like to have a smaller, advisory board in place soon for her to consult with on future projects.

Commissioner Jeff Brammer raised questions about the city’s recycling efforts and its costs verses return.

“Are we losing money?” he asked. “It seems to me not a lot of people are participating.”

The program cost the city about $18,000-$20,000 annually. With the price of recycled commodities down, the program does operate at a loss, officials said.

But Mason County Judge-Executive Joe Pfeffer said the value to space saved in the landfill by recycling is difficult to monetize.

A second reading of the budget is expected to be held Thursday during commission’s meeting.

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