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Valley Grande council says city ‘in good shape’

VALLEY GRANDE — A more than $150,000 decrease in available cash from the previous year didn’t bother members of the city council here.

Mayor Tom Lee proclaimed the city in “real good shape” as he and the council reviewed the budget during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

That’s because the net assets of the city increased from close to $914,000 to about $963,000 from September 2007 to September 2008.

The city’s building and improvement projects — including safety equipment and a new city hall and public safety building — added value to Valley Grande’s coffers.

“There is now a $251,051 building; it is a current asset,” Lee said. “In parks and recreation, we’ve completed another addition to the park … There was a significant of construction and progress.”

Valley Grande spent almost a quarter million more in such projects this past fiscal year, leading to an increase in the total worth of the city.

Several revenue sources suffered because of the state of the economy, however. The chief among them was sales taxes. That source accounts for nearly $180,000 each year, about 45 percent of Valley Grande’s income.

“A lot of our retail base is basic services — food and gas,” said Councilwoman Libby Ezelle.

Because Valley Grande has no major retailers, fluctuations like the current recession don’t affect the city that much, Lee said. But a business that closes could cut anywhere from 20-25 percent of retail tax base.

“The more participation throughout the city we get in all our businesses, the more solid this city gets, the more programs we can put on for this city,” Lee said. “Things we’ve put on in the past, hopefully that participation will grow. And hopefully, we will attract some additional businesses.”