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Mayor Battle announces more cost saving measures, energy audit


PHOTO CREDIT TO WILLIAM MARTIN,
HUNTSVILLENEWSWIRE.COM
HUNTSVILLE, AL-- Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle announced additional cost savings measures designed to save Huntsville's taxpayers more dollars and maintain the City's high level of service.

Mayor Battle made the remarks at a press briefing on Monday, March 9th in City Hall.

"This year we are off on revenue," said Battle, who noted that sales tax revenues last fall were off 2.4% and December income was off 7%.

Figures and amounts for 2009 are still being collected and were not available at the time of publication.

Mayor Battle said that he expected the decline in tax revenue could create as much as a seven million dollar economic shortfall in the City's budget.

"Sales tax revenue account for about 53% of our income," added Battle.

"One thing we are not going to do is cut services. We are not going to lay people off."

Mayor Battle noted that the City of Huntsville was taking other steps to ensure city services were maintained despite the shortfall in revenues.

Battle announced he would be leaving four open department head positions vacant.

"This means that a lot of people are going to do double duty," said Battle. "These moves will save us at least half a million dollars on top the millions we've already saved with the hiring freeze and not buying fleet (vehicles)."

The positions of fleet director, Fire Chief, Director of Inspection and Director of Human Resources are currently vacant.

In addition to personnel moves Battle said the city would be conducting an energy audit to see where more dollars can be saved.

Mayor Battle said that Jeff Easter, Director of General Services, would be leading the effort on the energy audit. Measures are expected include items that Mayor Battle described as "common sense," such as turning off lights and equipment when not in use.

"It’s very important that we maintain our level of services," Battle said, "But it’s also very important that we remain fiscally responsible in that we do everything we can to save that tax dollar. Saving money means saving jobs."

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