Dothan's city commission approved the city's proposed budget for the next two years Tuesday. It's a budget that is costing the city almost $10 million more than last year.
In 2005, the city of Dothan set aside more than $129 million to cover the city's expenses. Tuesday, the commissioners approved the 2006 budget for more than $139 million, a increase of nearly $10 million.
City officials say there are several reasons for the spending hike ranging from rising gas prices to paying into employee health insurance and the city's newly joined "Retirement Systems of Alabama" program.
The city's finance director, Angela Palmer, says "Even though it is 10 million dollars over last year's budget, it was created with a decrease in 36 positions that we had originally budgeted for in 2005 and didn't need, and therefore are not allowing for it in 2006."
But some things left out of next year's budget are causing some concern. The city has no money budgeted to replace vehicles, equipment, or its rolling fleet.
There is no money for the overall community investment program, and since the city's new budget allows for the exact amount of money earned to be spent, there is no net income projected at the end of the fiscal year, income the city is now using to operate some programs.
Still, this is a budget that city manager Mike West calls a "financial crossroads" for Dothan, and he says it is a more "realistic" budget than in the past.
The 2006 budget will go into effect October 1.