Monticello’s proposed operating budget of $10,446,000 for 2012 is about $375,000 less than 2011 expenditures, while the city’s one-cent sales tax budget proposal for 2012 is over budget by nearly $264,000.

The proposed one-cent sales tax budget carries with it $707,700 in capital improvements for city departments; $305,483 for economic development; $390,000 for infrastructure (streets): $572,042 for youth activities; and $203,700 for “other lawful purposes”, specifically funding of a grant matches for a live burn unit for the fire department, improvements at the municipal airport, and an emergency warning siren, and $100,000 set aside for an economic development “war chest.”

Five city departments, one economic development organization, and one youth services organization submitted funding requests for one-cent sales tax funds to the city council at a budget committee meeting earlier this month and Mayor Allen Maxwell’s one-cent sales tax budget proposal was presented to the council during a budget committee meeting Thursday night.

The $305,483 proposed for economic development includes $273,483 for contracted services by the Monticello Economic Development Commission, $25,000 to the Southeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority, $5,000 for property clean-up, and $2,000 to the Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition.

The $572,042 for youth activities includes $257,000 to replace the Sadie Johnson Community building which was destroyed by fire last year, $20,000 to the Drew County Boys & Girls Club for contracted services, and $10,000 for improvements at Lake Monticello, with the balance designated for improvements at the Monticello Sports Complex and three city parks as well as the salary for the sports complex director.

The proposed capital expenditures include $563,000 for the fire department, $115,000 for the police department, $27,000 for the public works department and $2,500 for the water department.

The city council, meeting in committee Thursday night, took no action on the sales tax budget proposal but did approve the city’s operating budget proposal with a do pass recommendation for the December 29 regular council meeting.

The proposed operating budget of $10,446,000 for 2012 is about $375,000 less than 2011 expenditures, according to  Maxwell.

“Diesel fuel ate our lunch in 2011 but expenditures were down in a majority of the categories and we’re going to under-spend this budget too,” Maxwell said, referring to the operating budget.

For example, workmen’s compensation will be down by one-third in 2012 because there were virtually no accidents in 2011, he said, attributing the good safety record to the regular safety meetings implemented in 2011.

“We will deliberately under-spend this budget because we’re going to have to eventually replace water and sewer pipes and we have a civic center on the horizon,” Maxwell said.

While the operating funds likely would not be used to help fund the proposed civic center, the one-cent sales tax fund would, Maxwell said, adding that the sales tax monies have been used in the past to supplement the water department because water rates were not increased for a number of years.

The city, however, has increased the water rates the last few years.

Asked if he anticipates another water rate increase in 2012, Maxwell said “yes.”