Meridian City Hall

Meridian City Hall

Meridian city leaders are looking at ways to cut more than $1 million in requests from the budget for Fiscal Year 2020.

The current draft for the general fund budget is more than $36.6 million, but projected revenue is around $35.5 million, chief administrative officer Richie McAlister said.

To save money, the city is considering deferring special requests for some facilities, including maintenance on the municipal garage and heavy equipment, McAlister said.

At a meeting Tuesday, the council proposed changing the fee structure for the Lakeview Municipal Golf Course, to get expenses more in line with revenue. This could mean raising membership fees or doing away with them in favor of a pay-to-play system, McAlister said.

Since October, the city spent $62,000 more on the golf course than it brought in, according to chief financial officer Brandye Latimer. Last year, an accounting firm reported the city lost more than $250,000 on the course.

“We need funding going to infrastructure improvements and paving and not going to a golf course,” McAlister said later.

The council discussed the possibility of spending more on the Public Employees’ Retirement System, training travel, legal fees, and public utilities.

City employees could potentially pay more for dependent health insurance. Claims for dependents have far exceeded what the city has charged for dependent coverage, according to Chrissie Walker, director of human resources.

City council member Kim Houston, who represents Ward 4, said the council will have to make hard decisions before it finalizes the budget in September. She said she doesn't want to raise taxes, but they may be necessary to keep up with the services the city provides. 

“We tried to cut expenses last year…we’ve just got to get out of the hole,” she said.

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