Riverside’s mayor Rusty Jessup didn’t mince words, “There aren’t any real surprises. We are still going broke.”

The town’s third quarter budget was released last week and it showed that business licenses, permits, taxes on beer and wine are all down, though ad velorum taxes are holding firm.

“We’re cutting back on our expenses,” Jessup said. “We’re doing everything we can to cut back.”

The town’s employees have cut back on phone services. Water bills collected now have to supplement part of the town clerk’s income.

Jessup said the Riverside Police Department is doing “alright” financially, but equipment has needed to be replaced recently.

The cash income so far this fiscal year sits at $411,162, down $65,810 from this time last year.

Riverside had a $32,000 deficit in its third quarter compared to 2009.

Some good news is that the fire services are able to hold their own. Riverside can maintain fire protection at the current capacity through the next quarter.

There has been no road paving, though Jessup noted that as long as the town can “just hold on for another three months, we’ll be in better shape” in terms of road services.

The town has been looking at ways of putting money away, but funds for a rainy day are scarce.

“I’m just hoping we can hang on to what we’ve got,” Jessup told those gathered at the town hall last week. He said it would be a “very bitter pill of cutbacks and layoffs” if things don’t improve in the next fiscal year, which starts in October.

Jessup said that bills are a “constant,” adding “they cannot be cut back.”

Town council members Kenny Womack and Rob Hayes said that working with St. Clair’s Economic Development Board to get businesses to locate off Interstate 20 would be a much-needed help for the town’s finances.

Though there haven’t been any offers lately, Jessup said that there has been at least one major area chain looking into locating in Riverside.


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