Conway will finish 2012 with a surplus, according to Chief Financial Officer Tyler Winningham. The current numbers following the October revenues and expenditures show a net revenue of about $3.3 million.

The numbers were presented to the Conway City Council during its regularly scheduled meeting last week. The council unanimously approved the financial report.

“What we are looking for is a fairly large surplus,” Conway Mayor Tab Townsell said. “This is a result of a conservative approach in budgeting, and we will have to remain down this road for next year.”
Heading into the final two months of 2012, the city was $754,216 under budget. Another payment of $500,000 has been made to the reserve fund, which was created following the tax rededication package passed in February.

What the city may have to address, however, is the growing chorus of those supporting employee raises. Richard Shumate, Jr., a Conway police officer, and Damon Reed, a Conway firefighter, sued the city “on behalf of themselves and on behalf of all other similarly situated persons and entities” in September. The lawsuit was filed by Wood Law Firm in Russellville, and cited breach of contract.

The plaintiffs pointed to a resolution in 2001 which stated that a quarter-cent sales tax to be voted on the following month “shall be expended exclusively to improve the salaries of those employees of the city whose current salaries are determined by the city council to be under the proper ‘market pay scales’ for similar positions in similar cities in Arkansas.”

With the latest tax rededication package, those supporting it acknowledged the shortcomings of the employee salary situation.

A one-time bonus has already been paid for full and part-time employees, and during the last council meeting, the council approved a $500 Christmas bonus for full-time employees and a $250 bonus for part-time employees. It is the first Christmas bonus city employees have seen since 2009.

Aldermen are not employees and will not receive bonuses.