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Morrison approves budget for 2019

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By Deborah Swearingen

Morrison Town Board unanimously approved its 2019 budget, a more than $2.8 million spending plan that requires a transfer from the town’s reserves.
Overall, the town has budgeted for $2.45 million in revenue, and approximately $2.87 million in expenditures thus leaving the town with a $416,403 deficit. After transferring money from reserves, Morrison will have just under $4 million remaining in its general fund balance.
Adoption happened quickly and without much discussion during the Dec. 4 board meeting, largely because the board has for several months been analyzing the budget piecemeal.
About 46 percent of the town’s general fund expenditures come from the Morrison Police Department. A report prepared by Town Manager Kara Winters indicates that, with the $1.3 million allocation, the police department will continue to implement procedures to accommodate the increased town traffic and plans to hire an additional officer in the upcoming year.
Public works, administration and general fund capital projects are other high budget expenditures. The town budgeted just over $348,000 for administration with capital projects not far behind at $340,000.
The largest capital project budget expenditure for 2019 is a $240,000 project that would move Morrison’s utility lines underground. Though the project has been on the town’s radar for more than a year, it’s still not a certainty. Later, the board scheduled a study session in order to further discuss the project and gauge the public’s interest.
As a small, tourist-driven town, Morrison brings in much more sales tax revenue than it does property tax revenue. The town expects to bring in $600,000 in sales tax revenue as compared to just over $81,000 in property taxes.
Morrison’s budget also relies heavily on court fines, and the town expects to bring in some $1.3 million from these fines next year. Despite this, records indicate that revenue from court fines was down in 2018 through October. Data for November and December is not yet available.