Ron Scott told commissioners and residents that the public ranked police, fire and 911 as the most important services the city provides. He said those three services were held in the same regard last year.
But the survey offered interesting suggestions, he said, such as improving the City Service Request System.
The survey will remain on the city’s website for two more weeks, and Scott urges residents to participate.
In response to several residents’ questions regarding the alcohol tax, Scott said Danville’s rate is actually comparable to other third class cities.
In Danville, the tax is 5 percent on alcohol by the drink, 4 percent for packaged spirits, and 3 percent for packaged malts, which is lower compared to Murray’s 8 percent across the board, as well as Somerset that charges 1 percent more across the board.
Scott said Danville has met with several other cities regarding fees, and only one city that hasn’t implemented a fee plans to do so at a higher rate.
“I do think we have been a leader,” Scott said, adding that now the city is able to recover some of the costs of policing and enforcing alcohol regulations.
Where those funds are spent was another popular topic at the listening sessions.
But contrary to many residents’ beliefs, Scott said the city does not gain as much revenue in alcohol tax as it spends on enforcement because there are various and numerous related duties.
“It would be impossible for alcohol fees to completely be a self-supporting entity of its own,” he said. “Simply stated, costs exceed fees received.”
Scott listed nearly 50 of these duties such as time police spend in court related to drunken-driving arrests they make and to the city’s costs for processing license fees. The city also has ordered the SIDNEY simulator, a device intended to show students the effects of drunk driving.
The alcohol expense budget for the 2013 fiscal year is estimated at about $600,000, but the city expects to gain only $506,000 back in revenue.
In addition, Scott said residents should not worry about losing alcohol sales to competing cities.
“We have not had declining sales of alcohol since the fees were implemented,” he said. “They continue to go up.”
Details on alcohol revenues are listed on the city’s website, Scott said.
In other budget matters:
- Scott gave a brief summary of the 911 center’s annual budget of more than half a million dollars. The center is mostly funded by Danville but receives contributions of $137,000 from Boyle County, $6,950 from Junction City, $695 from Perryville, $6,114 from Boyle County Fire Department and $90,000 from the state.