These days, when looking at their family budget, virtually every American family takes into account skyrocketing gas prices and inflation. The city of Burnside is no different.
The Burnside City Council passed its fiscal year 2022-23 budget in a Monday night meeting, and unlike in previous years, it was a more complex matter: Mayor Robert Lawson asked each department head to submit their individual budget to educate the council.
And fuel costs were a topic that came up often. Burnside Fire Chief James Martin noted that the cost of diesel was a significant part of his department’s expenses, to which Lawson remarked upon seeing it listed at the local price of $5.79 a gallon that day, and then joked, “So, you say that they will have to bring the fire to you, not (the firemen go out).”
Speaking to city utilities, Superintendent David Staley said he had to pay attention to the effects of aging sewer pumps and rising electricity costs, noting that “everything in the world has become more expensive.”
On the other hand, Rhonda Vincent’s Cole Park Memorial Day concert was a success, with Lawson saying tourism director Alison Piles managed to stay “in the black” with him.
“We never set out to make money, break even, but she was able to make some money to reinvest it,” Lawson said.
Tourism is looking to spend more on advertising this year – “You have to spend money to make money,” as Lawson puts it – and Lawson himself, speaking on behalf of the city as a whole, said they would spend more on advertising. as well as a new memorial garden in works dedicated to some of Burnside’s most famous townspeople.
The council ultimately approved—minus Duane Sellers and Randy Berry, who were absent—the 2022-2023 budget, which is $2,994,350 for all city departments.
The most dramatic change from last fiscal year is in the Burnside Tourism and Leisure budget, operating at $681,550 in 2022-23, compared to an adjusted $294,250 in the current budget. This is largely due to the attractiveness of Christmas Island during the holidays – a source of income and high expenses.
Total city expenses including parks, administration, fire department and police are $1,584,700, Burnside Waterworks is $525,600 and Burnside Sewer is $202,500.
Requests for new spending in the budget, including $15,000 for advertising, $15,000 for a memorial garden, $5,000 to decorate City Hall during the holidays, and $3,000 for training for city government; $25,000 for a new Cole Park sign, $15,000 for a truck, $5,000 for seasonal flags, $7,500 for new flower pots, $2,500 for landscaping around the stage, and $5,000 for additional park maintenance for Burnside Tourism; and $28,000 for a new truck.