City budget down almost 10 percent

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Working with a budget that has been whittled down by almost 10 percent compared to last year's, City Council members will sharpen their pencils at their preliminary budget workshops set for July 10-12 at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers.

Despite the reduction in the estimated 2006-07 budget, there are no proposed changes in the property tax levy, according to initial estimates.

Compared with the last year's budget of $26,796,937, the budget for 2006-07 has been projected to drop to $24,437,362, a decrease of 9.6 percent.

The General Fund portion of the proposed budget, which funds city departments and comprises 26.8 percent of the total budget, has also shrunk to $70,565, a 7.1 percent decrease from last year.

The largest reduction of funds was seen in Capital Outlay and Improvement portion, with a $9 million decrease from last year's budget. This substantial decrease was due to last year's improvements at the waste water facility and the completion of the water treatment plant.

Financed by revenue from the General Fund, Special Revenue Fund, Debt Service and Enterprise funds, Capital Outlay and Improvement Funds were projected at $2,932,427, a 23 percent decline from last year's budget of $12,759,811.

Because of the additional costs for city manager recruitment and the reduced Council Contingency, city staff has determined the $75,000 that was requested for the tennis court project is not feasible at this time.

In addition, transfers were not made for improvements at the Auditorium/City Council Chambers at $50,000 or for Kelley Park restrooms at $15,000.

General Fund expenses that have been recommended for various city departments include $1,168,921 for police, $1,047,820 for fire, $692,564 for reserves and $667,120 for streets.

Other recommended ex-penses include: Council, $638,529, administration, $444,088, senior center, $307,942, library, $262,990, and parks, $222,575.

Total recommended expenditures for the water department are $7,683,657, and for the sewer at $2,994,154.

The budget proposal also includes a suggested 4.5 percent cost of living adjustment for all non-union employees of the city; police department employees, represented by their union, will receive a salary adjustment based upon their new contract currently under negotiation.

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