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Porterdale enacts spending freeze

PORTERDALE - Spending on all but routine expenditures and emergency maintenance will be frozen for the next six months following a unanimous vote by the City Council on Monday night.

Councilwoman Linda Finger proposed the freeze as a step toward getting the town back on sound financial footing.

"I think that would be a way right now to get a handle on where our money is going and why," Finger said Monday night.

After reviewing a list of the town's expenditures for November, Finger said it appears that the town is purchasing only "bare necessities."

Finger's motion also stipulated that no more funds be transferred from the Culture and Recreation Fund to the general fund. She said she hopes the spending freeze will allow the town's general fund to rebuild so that the $136,000 in funds that were transferred from the recreation fund earlier this year can be returned. Those funds were from an insurance settlement paid after the town's historic gym burned in 2005 and were earmarked for restoration of the gym.

City Manager Tom Fox has estimated that Porterdale faces a $200,000 budget shortfall in the coming year. Porterdale's budget woes stem primarily from decreased revenues from sewer tap and building permit fees and an increase in expenses, including fuel and personnel costs.

Fox said there should be no problem implementing the spending freeze over and above the town's monthly obligations and necessary maintenance. All other expenditures will be brought to the council for approval, he said.