MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Balancing the city budget is one of the biggest parts of Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson's job. At the end of every year, there's not much left and the town's general fund is often depleted. That money is used for important city services, such as fire protection for Hernando's 14,000 residents.
"75 to 80 percent of the general fund is toward public safety. Just court, ambulance, fire, police," Johnson said.
To make sure those services don't suffer at the end of every year, Hernando and other cities usually have to borrow from other city departments or take out a loan.
"This is something almost every city does. It's so normal spelled out in state law," stated Johnson. "Last year, we borrowed $575,000."
This year, Johnson said the city may need to borrow $300,000 from Hernando's utility fund. That money will be used to cover costs until property taxes are collected in January.
Johnson said there are "really no ups and downs in the utility fund, whereas the general fund gets a huge hit in February and March, slowly depletes, then comes back."
While Johnson says its common practice to shift funds from one department to another, he hopes the city won't have to do that in a few years as the town's rainy day fund grows.