Fairhope surplus could fund new projects that had been postponed

BY GUY BUSBY
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 6/28/22

FAIRHOPE — Better-than-expected revenue halfway through the fiscal year has Fairhope officials considering funding for additional municipal projects that have been postponed in recent …

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Fairhope surplus could fund new projects that had been postponed

Posted

FAIRHOPE — Better-than-expected revenue halfway through the fiscal year has Fairhope officials considering funding for additional municipal projects that have been postponed in recent budgets.

At a recent Fairhope City Council work session, Mayor Sherry Sullivan said the surplus could allow the city to complete projects that are needed but have not been funded.

"When we presented the financials at the six-month review, we had some surplus cash in the general fund and we have several projects, as y'all point out every meeting, that when we get to some of the small, $10,000 things that this isn't budgeted and we're doing it," Sullivan told council members.

The list of possible projects includes adding lights to new ball fields planned at Volanta Park, a $70,000 police training simulator, pickleball courts and other work. Sullivan said the estimated cost of the proposed projects was about $900,000.

"These are just some projects that I'd like to throw out, if we have a little extra money, that I'd like to move forward on this year," Sullivan said. "They're things that we can do pretty quickly and things that I think that we need to check off the list and move forward."

Kim Creech, city treasurer, said that between additional revenue and reduced spending, the city is about $5 million ahead of budget projections.

"The recommendation is to use on capital projects," Creech said. "It's money sitting in your reserves. It's controlling your expenses and revenues came in higher than expected. The recommendation would be that it be used on capital projects. You don't put it back into regular operation."

Sullivan said work by both elected officials and city staffers helped generate the surplus.

"I obviously can't take credit for this. Y'all have been fiscally responsible the past couple of years, two, three, four years. The fruits of your labor are showing," Sullivan said. "It's also a credit to Kim and her department."

Council President Jimmy Conyers said the money could help Fairhope complete several needed projects.

"I would say just from conversations that I had with the mayor, we really need to get a few things checked off the list in my opinion," Conyers said. "There are a lot of projects pending that need to be addressed in the near future and it would be great to knock five or 10 of them off."

Sullivan said some other projects that are planned but may not have all the needed funding budgeted include work at Arts Alley, Founders Park track, city clock corner, renovations of several greens at the city golf course at Quail Creek and the Triangle nature center.

Council members said some of the funds might also be used to add needed boat slips and for other expansions at the city marina.

Sullivan said other projects could also be added in the future if revenue and expenses allow additional spending.

"Next year we could have a laundry list of these projects as well," Sullivan said. "We'll see how the financials are. We'll be very conservative on the front end. We'll see how the financials are and on the back end, there's some of these projects that we can do, go ahead, and get them done."

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