Bethlehem's '07 budget includes $20,900 surplus

BETHLEHEM - Bethlehem appears to be in good fiscal health.

City Council members approved the 2007 budget Monday that reflects a $20,900 surplus.

Bethlehem's projected operating expenses for 2007 total $260,600, less than the $281,500 expected revenue, hence the surplus.

Any money left over above the town's operating expenses will be put on interest to fund long-range plans, according to Mayor Wayne Ridgeway.

"We don't have it in hand, yet," Ridgeway said. "We have just completed our mapping for Bethlehem for future use. We are in the process of updating our zoning. We are hoping to get sewage from Barrow County. It will make a magical difference in what happens in the town over the next few years and we are trying to prepare for it."

Spending money

Planners budgeted the largest amount, $50,000, for road maintenance in 2007, although no money was budgeted or spent to maintain the town's roads in 2006.

Salaries and wages took the second largest budgeted expenditure at $27,000.

Expected maintenance and repair costs around the city and capital outlay projects each are funded at $20,000 for 2007.

"We have added about 2 acres for parks and greenspace around the city, and we are continuing to add to that," Ridgeway said of the money budgeted for capital outlay. "We completed a new Town Hall facility in 2003 so we are looking at adding some additional land to go with that, if we can."

City officials plan to spend the least amount of money, $300, on travel this year.

Earning money

Sales tax income brings the most cash into Bethlehem, at $150,000 in 2007. That is Bethlehem's share of state tax dollars distributed to counties and cities, according to Ridgeway.

Franchise taxes and Barrow County's one-cent tax program are the second- and third-highest sources of expected revenue in 2007, at $58,000 and $50,000 respectively.