By GALEN HOLLEY
Mayor Billy Collins capped off the Grenada City Council’s first meeting of the new fiscal year Monday with a sharp criticism about overspending.
The city overspent its budget last year by more than $490,000, Collins said. Every department overspent, except for the street department. The police department overspent the most, according to Collins, overdrawing its budget by $140,000.
“The good news is that revenue was up more than $321,000,” Collins said. “The bad news is that, if it hadn’t been for that deficit in the general fund, we could have taken that money and given city employees a raise,” he said.
The deficit in the general fund, according to Collins, is $1, 055,000. The city chose not to give employees pay raises this year, for the seventh consecutive year.
Golf Course Blamed
Ward Four Councilman the Rev. Ernest Hargrove responded to Collins’s criticism with an equally poignant remark.
“If we’re going to have a serious discussion about overspending, then we take to look at where the most money is going out of the bag, and that’s the golf course,” said Hargrove.
Ward Three Councilman Lewis Johnson agreed that the ailing revenue at the city-run Dogwoods course is a concern.
“The golf course is costing this city tremendously,” said Johnson.
The 2013 budget calls for the city to supplement revenue at Dogwoods by $188,000.
Grenada Chamber of Commerce Director Glenn Smith said at a previous council meeting that his office and the Grenada Tourism Commission are exploring ways to beef up patronage at the award-winning, 18-hole course, including erecting better signs and working with local hotels to offer perk packages to visiting golfers.
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