The Murray City Council has approved a $44.6 million budget despite failed attempts to amend the spending plan. Discussions lasted well into the night yesterday because of what Councilman Danny Hudspeth says was his obligation to bring forward the four amendments.
Hudspeth entertained cutting a two-point-five-percent salary increase for all city employees, the hiring of a new storm water and drainage technician, money for building a scenic trail and a $50,000 allocation to Murray State University for an alcohol education program.
The city had faced a challenge balancing its budget last year and Hudspeth says the city should be careful with the 700% increase in alcohol revenue. The new budget represents a 16% increase in revenue due, in large part, to alcohol tax revenue. Mayor Bill Wells says the revenue from alcohol sales must be used for alcohol enforcement and education. However,Well's says the tax rate he fought for helps to ensure the extra revenue.
“The projections for our ABC money for the year will be close to $1 million,” said Wells. “That’s why I fought so hard for 8 percent, because, if it was 4 percent, well, if you do the math, it would be about half that – half a million dollars.”
Wells says the eight percent alcohol tax was key to forming this budget.