Buckhannon finishes fiscal year in the black

BUCKHANNON – The city of Buckhannon ended the 2013/2014 fiscal year with more revenue than expected. City Administrator Michael Doss said the additional revenue will give City Council more money for projects and help match grants to create improvements in the city.

“We actually ended with $245,783 more in revenue than we originally projected,” Doss told The Inter-Mountain last week. “It was reported with the budget revision last night (at Buckhannon City Council’s regular meeting on Thursday).”

Council passed a budget revision during the meeting to allocate the money. Doss explained that $146,783 of the revenue was moved to city council’s capital outlay budget. Council can use the money for projects that may arise through the next year.

During Thursday’s council meeting, Councilman Ron Pugh suggested a portion of the money should be used to purchase body camera and police cruiser cameras for the Buckhannon Police Department. He said the cameras could help settle any disputes between the officers and the public.

“We see the advantages of those, but we also see the comments we will see against them,” Buckhannon Police Department Lt. Doug Loudin said during the meeting.

He added that he agreed with Pugh saying the cameras would be a way for the department to help address complaints from the residents. He said the cruiser cameras would also be helpful with DUI stops.

“I appreciate the request,” he said. “Any device that we can use to better our department, I appreciate,” Loudin said.

The other $100,000 will be used to help match grants the city has received. Doss said a portion of the money will be used to match a transportation enhancement grant the city is using to finish a project that will bring new sidewalks and lighting to East Main Street.

Another portion will be used to match a federal land and water grant that the city is using to make upgrades at the North Buckhannon Park playground. Doss said the funding will bring new playground equipment and handicap accessible equipment to the park.

Doss said the extra revenue came in a year where the city also allocated $100,000 for sewer upgrades and $100,000 to complete the city’s public safety building.

“I have an 8 year history, and it is probably one of our biggest carryover fund balances the city has had,” Doss said. “We also have $500,790.91 in the city’s ‘Rainy Day’ fund.'”

Doss said that fund is used at council’s discretion and could be used if any emergency arises.