HARTSELLE — For the first time since alcohol sales started in Hartselle in February 2017, the City Council expects to pass a budget that shares alcohol revenue with Hartselle City Schools.

The city’s proposed $15.2 million 2019-20 revenue budget includes $32,000 from projected alcohol money for the school district. The council will vote on the proposed budget before the fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

“We’ve said all along that we were going to share this money with the school system,” Council President Kenny Thompson said.

City Clerk Rita Lee said the council is projecting alcohol revenue to increase about 13% to $270,000 in the next budget year.

“We’ll send the school system a check for their share of the alcohol money,” she said.

The school system can only spend the money on capital projects, which Superintendent Dee Dee Jones said shouldn’t be a problem.

“We have millions of dollars’ worth of capital projects and we will submit our capital projects list to the state by Sept. 18,” she said.

Jones said city officials will get the same list.

The city budget also has more than $3.4 million appropriated to pay for school bonds that are on the city’s books.

Mayor Randy Garrison said the school system is important to Hartselle, but the budget this year also addresses some city issues, including cost of living adjustments and merit raises for employees.

He said the plan is to add a narcotics officer in the Police Department, and reshuffle the Fire Department and Public Works to add an assistant fire chief and assistant public works director. The city also is adding a part-time position at the library.

The positions and raises will cost Hartselle about $190,887 annually, Garrison said.

“We’re a growing city and need the positions,” the mayor said.

Even with the increase in employee costs, projected revenues are about $800,000 over expenditures, which is one of the reasons Hartselle is planning to return appropriations for nonprofit organizations to pre-2014 levels.

The city gives appropriations to 19 nonprofit organizations, including the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce, but funding for those groups as well as every city department was cut 10% in 2014.

— deangelo@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2469. Twitter @DD_Deangelo.

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