City of Bamberg cash reserves slowly decrease

The City of Bamberg’s cash reserve is at its lowest point in several years and the future does not look any better, Bamberg City Council members were told at their December 13, monthly meeting. From 2009 to 2010 the City’s cash reserves fell by $80,000 and at the end of November of this year stood at $407,000.

“That’s the lowest since I’ve been here in Bamberg,” City of Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson said, adding “we’ve kind of foreseen this coming and it’s going to get tighter. Our revenue stream is narrowing. We may not be able to do the things we’ve done in the past.”

Watson noted that in past years the City has had to dip into the reserve fund to balance the budget, but council members have since agreed that they will no longer balance the budget on the back of the reserve fund. Watson said the drop in the City’s reserve fund had a lot to do with the economy, tax millage and delinquent taxes, which he said “went out of sight” and presently stand at approximately $184,000 according to the delinquent tax office.

“If we had half that money coming into the City, we would be alright budget wise.” Watson stated that the City needed to work closely with the BPW in the coming months and years, which he said had its own monetary issues. “You hear reports about we have money in reserves, no you don’t,” Watson observed.

Also during the meeting:

• In an update on the FEMA application to use the civic center as staging area and EOC it was noted that the civic center’s roof is deteriorating and needed to be fixed to protect the building before it gets worse. It was suggested the $32,000 allocated for air conditioning upgrade be used instead for the roof. It was also noted that the $1 million FEMA grant would require a $250,000 match which hasn’t been secured yet. Council members should know in the next couple of weeks if the FEMA grant is approved. “We’re waiting and hoping,” Mayor McCollum said.

• Council members approved a total of $1,500 to Mr. Craig Walker and the Bamberg City Basketball League with $1,000 coming from the Recreation Committee and $500 coming out of the Promotions Budget.

• Council members gave first reading approval to an Ordinance 10-6 to rezone the property of Judy Halmon from HC to R-10.