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Rincon trims its budget for coming fiscal year
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Rincon City Council members have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year that will be $3.5 million less than the fiscal year 2012 plan.

The city’s total budget, including general fund, special purpose local option sales tax, utility fund, among others, for FY13 will be $12.09 million. The total FY12 budgets amounted to $15.6 million.

“It’s a substantial decrease,” said interim city manager Wesley Corbitt.

The main reasons for the budget being scaled back are the completion of the Fort Howard Road widening project and the reuse water and irrigation projects coming to fruition.

The city still is anticipating spending more than $1.5 million on capital projects, with the addition of fields to Macomber Park and its improvements accounting for $777,000.

General fund expenditures are pegged to decrease by 2.7 percent. The city is expecting to have a general fund budget of $4.3 million, with the bulk of the revenue coming from taxes and related revenue. The city does not levy a property tax.

For FY12, the city used more than $1.35 million in reserves, for $5.19 million in revenue on hand. The city is projecting a 3.2 percent increase in general fund revenues but will use $184,090 in reserves to meet its budget.

Under the FY13 budget, the city plans to spend $1.25 million on recreation and $1.2 million on the police department. The public works department will be $1.04 million, down from $1.8 million in FY12.

Recreation’s general fund appropriations are shrinking by about $90,000 from the previous year. The city council’s budget also will have a modest decrease, about $2,000, and general administrative spending will be reduced by nearly $53,000.

Rincon’s fire budget for FY12 was more than $961,000, but it is being cut to just more than $492,000 for the coming fiscal year. The city invested in several large capital purchases last year, in an effort to improve the ISO rating. Though those purchases were a one-time occurrence, the city also now has paid firefighters providing 24-hour coverage. To offset those personnel costs, city officials are contemplating an increase of 50 cents a month in fire fees.

The city’s SPLOST receipts for 2013 are projected to be $931,260. With interest and cash carried forward from FY12, Rincon is anticipating having a SPLOST budget of $1.61 million. Much of that — $927,500 — will be directed toward sewer work. Projects for city streets will receive $401,000.

Mediation between the cities and Effingham County did not result in an agreement on how to divide local option sales tax money. Atlantic Judicial Circuit Judge Ronnie Rahn will conduct arbitration on the matter. According to Corbitt, the city was conservative in its streets, sidewalks and recreation improvements and personnel needs.

Lost Plantation, the city-owned golf course, exceeded 2011 revenues but did not meet projected increases for 2012. According to the budget prepared for council members, the city will limit investment in the course’s capital improvement and additions until revenues rise.

The city’s continued growth is expected to push utility fund revenues slightly higher. Utility fund operations are expected to generate more than $833,000 in surplus, and increased rates over the last two years are seen as having aided in eliminating sewer fund losses and also preparing for system improvements. The city does not anticipate increasing utility rates for several years.

Rincon also recently annexed the Rincon Select auto dealership, the Kroger shopping center and the First Effingham Bank.