by David Anderson
Kinston city officials have trimmed back spending to reduce the amount of fund balance needed to close next year’s budget gap, and are preparing the final package to present to the public in two weeks.
The 2012 budget has been reduced from about $99.1 million three weeks ago to a final figure of $98.6 million, which will be presented June 20 for a public hearing.
City Manager Scott Stevens initially estimated nearly $500,000 in savings would be needed to balance the general fund, which supports entities such as police, fire, recreation, public services and others, and takes up a fifth of the full budget.
Stevens cut that general fund gap back to $173,500, which would be filled in with an allocation from the general fund balance, or savings account.
Mayor B.J. Murphy wanted to see the amount reduced even further, but Stevens said during a City Council meeting Monday doing that could hurt city services.
“If the goal is not to use any fund balance, we will just be cutting into things I think we shouldn’t (cut into),” he said.