At their January meeting, the Dearing Town Council adopted a new 2009 proposed budget of $277,000. The budget was prepared after the council consulted with Lee Hammond, Sr., of Baird and Company, CPAs of Thomson.
The major changes in the numbers of this year's proposed budget were an $18,000 expenditure to purchase a new sign for the front of town hall and an extra $18,000 to purchase equipment for firefighters.
Mayor Sean Kelley told the council members it would be good to start replacing some of the firefighters' equipment every year rather than waiting to do it all at once.
"They are volunteers and they need good equipment to fight fires," he said. "I don't want to put them in danger by sending them out with worn or outdated equipment."
The most remarkable change of the budget is actually an improvement - the documentation has been reworked so each department's expenses and revenues are itemized - something never done before because of the town's small finances. Last year's budget was $201,800.
The itemization is already helping them to save money. Mayor Kelley said even though the fire department's expenses increased, he was able to cut back $8,000 by seeing how much was needed for each item.
Mr. Hammond also prepared an analysis of prior years' revenues and expenditures, which the council will continue to be able to use for future budget amendments and proposals.
"I'm very, very pleased," Mayor Kelley said. "I feel real good about it, because the town's been doing real good, hardly ever going over budget. But now we can do even better."