Mid-Year Financial Report Recaps Berlin’s Expenditures, Revenues

Mid-Year Financial Report Recaps Berlin’s Expenditures, Revenues
A mid-year fiscal review shows the Town of Berlin’s expenditures through the first half of the current fiscal year. Submitted Photo

BERLIN – As interest in the town’s budget remains high, officials provided a mid-year financial update at this week’s meeting of the Berlin Town Council.

Finance Director Natalie Saleh on Monday presented a financial report for July through December, the first six months of the current fiscal year. The report shows overall revenues at 68 percent, as the town has collected about two-thirds of budgeted revenue, and expenses at 45 percent.

Saleh said the town was trying to be moderate with expenses and save where possible.

“Any extra will basically go back to reserves,” she said.

Through the first six months of the fiscal year the town has collected $3.8 million of its projected $5.7 million in revenues. Expenditures, which are budgeted at $7.2 million for the year, were at $3.2 million through the first six months. For the July through December time period, the police department accounted for 33 percent of the town’s expenditures while general government accounted for 26 percent of expenditures. Other departments that impacted spending included public works, 16 percent, planning and community development, 8 percent, debt service, 7 percent, fire and EMS, 5 percent, capital outlay, 4 percent and recreation and parks, 1 percent.

As for the town’s enterprise funds, Saleh reported that electric revenues were at 44 percent while expenditures were at 40 percent. Water revenues for were at 46 percent while expenditures were at 39 percent. Sewer revenues were at 45 percent while expenditures were at 38 percent.

The town’s stormwater figures prompted discussion among those present at Monday’s meeting, as revenues were at 44 percent while expenditures were at 5 percent. Saleh explained that the stormwater budget was based on the town receiving grants for capital projects. The town budgeted $1.2 million in grants for stormwater.

“As of right now we are not there yet,” she said.

Mayor Gee Williams said it was only because the town had created a stormwater utility and started charging an annual fee that it had been eligible for grants.

“If we don’t collect those stormwater fees, we can’t even apply for the grants,” he said.

Resident Jason Walter asked how competitive the grant process was.

“There aren’t that many municipalities with a separate stormwater fund,” he said.

Town Administrator Laura Allen said in a recent grant application, in which the town was unsuccessful, it was one of 26 applicants. She said the applicants weren’t necessarily all municipalities but they did all have resources they could leverage.

“These are generally larger jurisdictions that have other resources they can draw on …,” she said. “The fact that we’re a smaller municipality with a stormwater utility does help us when it comes to applying for grants.”

Williams said that while the town might not be successful with every grant application, officials were optimistic Berlin would eventually receive the funding it needed.

“I don’t think we’re thinking we’re going to be shut out because part of what they take into account is what you’ve done so far,” he said, adding that the town had completed $3 million in stormwater improvements.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.