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Conway OKs 'tight' 2014 budget

Posted: December 26, 2013 - 7:52pm

Conway’s budget for 2014 may mark the start of a few leaner years.

Travel and education for city employees and equipment for city offices are cut from the budget the Conway City Council approved this week. The budget is tight for 2014 because of a projection that next year’s sales tax revenue will not increase over this year’s. This year’s sales tax income will be about the same as last year’s or slightly lower, Mayor Tab Townsell told the council on Monday.

Conway’s sales tax revenue declined in 2002 and 2009. Townsell said that 2002’s decline was related to the “dot com” industry bust and 2009’s to the housing “bubble” and general recession. If 2013’s sales tax is down, he said, it’s probably because Fayetteville Shale natural gas operations are winding down.

Combined with the sales tax “plateau” are increased salary expenses from raises that took effect early this year and the unexpected $313,000 increase in city employee health insurance premiums.

Almost all capital purchases are cut from next year’s budget — meaning everything from fax machines to fire trucks.

“The only thing we’re budgeted to buy are bullet-proof vests for the police department and their ammunition,” city finance officer Tyler Winningham said. “Other than that, [departments] will have to find room in some other line item to cover it or make a case for the city council to get into reserve money.”

City department heads will have a chance to make a case for more money at the council’s yearly retreat, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 18.

Conway has more than $2 million in a reserve account. It is hoped that the reserve will not have to be tapped in 2014.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached by email at joe.lamb@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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Grandpa1299
49
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Grandpa1299 12/26/13 - 09:05 pm
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Please tell me there's enough

Please tell me there's enough for another large non working attraction to bring people to Conway. I'm sure there are still some who haven't had a good laugh yet!!

rathjen
667
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rathjen 12/26/13 - 09:33 pm
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.

If you are serious about maintaining a tight budget, how about starting with cutting the yearly retreat?

Lilly03
413
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Lilly03 12/27/13 - 09:40 am
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Travel

Does the cut on travel truly include everyone? Like city council and the Mayor?

Another article sounded like computer upgrades were necessary...is that cut?

ARBEAR
1257
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ARBEAR 12/27/13 - 09:51 am
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So why is Tab and council

So why did Tab and council spend so much of taxpayers money for a 65 foot Christmas decoration? Shame on them.

Voter
286
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Voter 12/27/13 - 01:32 pm
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Retreat

Hopefully the retreat will be in Conway . I think that is the plan and anyone who is interested can go

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