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City Passes 2011-12 Budget, Expects to Bring In $200K More in Revenue

A smaller-than-expected decrease in property values will bring in more money for the city, saving at least one job.

Birmingham city commissioners adopted the 2011-12 Monday night, noting that the city could see an additional $200,000, due to better-than-expected property values.

Taxable values fell 5 percent this year, less than the projected 6 percent that was worked into the , reducing the number of mills levied in 2011-12 from 15.6855 to 15.6005.

Because of this, Birmingham residents will pay less in taxes next year, yet the city will collect more tax revenue than it had expected. That additional cash will be put toward saving a code enforcement officer position and replenishing the local and major street fund.

According to city Treasurer Sharon Ostin, Birmingham homeowners will pay, on average, $2,461.02 in taxes in 2011 and $2,434 in 2012, down from the $2,532.10 they paid in 2010.

The extra money — specifically, $199,190 during the 2011-12 fiscal year — will be put back into the major and local streets funds, the budget and in preserving a part-time code enforcement officer in the .

City Commissioner Stuart Sherman said the city should also keep a close eye on state-shared revenue. If the city receives more than expected, that money should go back to where it’s been cut, he said. Major and local street funds, , was cut from $4.9 million to $3.2 million for 2011-12.

“If we see more in state sharing funds, I want that money to go back to the street funds,” Sherman said.

Several community members, including former Mayor Bob Kelly, asked the commission to put some of its extra money toward the library, which is looking to lay off employees and reduce the number of days its open next year due to budget constraints.

The 2011-12 budget for is based on a millage of 1.32 mills, an increase from 1.1 mills with which the library operated the year before. The 1.32 millage is expected to bring in a little more than $2.3 million in revenue.

Still, the library is planning to cut three full-time positions and one part-time position, while also reducing its hours from 67 to 62 per week.

Kelly asked that the city raise the library’s millage rate to 1.46 mills so it can retain the same level of service.

“We’ve got the money,” he said. “Give them the money they need to maintain the current standard.”

Kelly’s concerns, however, didn’t rouse the commissioners to alter anything. While Commissioner Scott Moore noted they agree with Kelly's statements, the budget passed as presented. The 2011-12 fiscal year begins July 1.

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