Mansfield plans on increased power sales to help balance budget

MANSFIELD — Town leaders are expecting to sell more electricity this year in order to balance the 2014 budget.

Mansfield’s City Council is still hammering out the details of its current year budget, which is more than two months overdue.

Based on a budget proposal discussed at Monday night’s council meeting, electricity revenues will need to increase by 15 percent in order to balance the budget and have a surplus of $47,000. If revenues are flat to last year, the town will see a budget deficit of $56,000.

Councilman Matt Clark, who submitted the budget proposal, said the 15 percent increase was based on a comparison of January 2013 revenues to January of this year.

“That’s just one month, but that’s all we’ve got to work with,” Clark said.

He also said the town saw a decrease in revenues from electricity sales between 2012 and 2013 of $112,000.

Town leaders also hope the anticipated increase in sales will generate enough revenue to help cover the costs of contracting with a CPA and hiring a bookkeeper to prevent budget problems in the future. They agreed to put $50,000 in the budget to cover those costs, acknowledging that they might have to take some money from savings in order to balance the budget.

“We’ve got to get it straightened out,” Clark said of the budget.

Mansfield’s budget would normally have been completed in November in time for approval in December. The city operates on an annual budget of about $1 million. City officials blame new accounting system software for the budget delay this year.

Officials have said that once the council finalizes a budget it will be available for public review at City Hall for one month.