Today, the Argyle Town Council will consider approving its 2012-13 budget, which has a $45,000 deficit the mayor said was brought on by poor town planning.
Council members made several cuts in an attempt to balance the budget, including reducing funding for janitorial services, consultation services and interns. But Mayor Matt Smith said the council waited too long to develop a “Plan B” to address falling sales and property tax revenue.
Despite the deficit, Smith expects the council to approve the budget tonight and doesn’t expect to make any additional cuts.
“The last meeting was a last-ditch effort to balance the budget,” he said. “There’s nothing left we can do but approve it.”
During the last workshop, budget cuts were challenged by council members Bonny Haynes and Peggy Krueger who felt the mayor identified changes to be made without the council’s input.
“I don’t understand why a mayor would present a budget that he prepared without giving council an opportunity to review before a meeting,” Krueger said.
Smith said the previous interim town manager, Rod Hogan, failed to address the town’s taxable value decreases, which led to the deficit.
“We tried to avoid this situation,” Smith said. “It’s not a healthy situation or practice for your town expenditures to exceed your town revenue.”
In August, the council voted to end Hogan’s contract because of what Smith called poor management skills.
Since then, Argyle has been without a town manager, who usually assists with the budget process. Smith expects the council to appoint a new manager by October.
The proposed budget is about $2.4 million, and officials will maintain the current tax rate of 39.75 cents per $100 valuation. Finance Director Kim Collins said the council made about $18,000 in cuts and reductions during a Sept. 11 council meeting workshop.
The council made reductions on several items, including reducing council training by $14,950, janitorial services by $2,600 and various professional services by $2,000.
“I don’t think anyone should discontinue training whether in the private sector or government with the many changes that occur in our government regulations,” Krueger said.
Smith said that through due diligence the council should be able to limit its spending throughout the year and slowly make up for the deficit.
The Town Council meets at 5 p.m. today at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6682. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .