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Dry Ridge cuts budget

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By Bryan Marshall

Money is tight and pennies have to be pinched in Dry Ridge just like most cities across Kentucky.

The Dry Ridge City Council recently approved a more than $1.7 million general fund budget for 2009-10 that includes funding cuts to almost every department.

“I think most of the departments are pretty well stripped,” Cindy Harris, city clerk, said during the council meeting. “There isn’t any fat, particularly in public works or in the police department at all.”

While the city’s expenditures have increased, Harris said the problem is revenue has stayed about the same.

The carried over balance from last year is $251,847, a decrease of $302,653 from where the budget started last year.

By the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year, the balance is estimated to dip to only $93,233 that will be carried over for the 2010-11 general fund budget.

“If the projected income and expenditures are correct, then by next year we’re in trouble,” said council member Encil Webster. “We’re going to have to start looking at other sources of revenue because the well is running dry. You might start talking around town that, if things don’t change, there’s going to be a change otherwise the city can’t stay in business. There’s not any choice.”

Almost every department will see cuts in general fund appropriations with the largest decreases coming in Public Works ($81,600) and Recreation ($21,300).

Police and General Government also will have funding decreased by $15,480 and $11,655, respectively, from last year.

There will be no raises for city employees this year and all overtime has been cut out, said Mayor Clay Crupper.

“It’s not something we want to do,” he said. “We just don’t have any choice. To balance the budget, you’re either going to have to raise something or cut something or both.”

While the fire department will receive $17,280 in more funding than 2008-09, more than $112,000 of the department’s $1.06 million in appropriations comes from outside grant money.

“We’re providing ambulance service for the majority of the county,” Webster said. “And, we’re getting a whole $20,000 out of fiscal court, about the same as every other fire department in the county. We’re providing about 10 times the amount of service. It just don’t seem right to me.”