Friday, June 14, 2013

Budget Time!

The Month of May had been a busy one for me in regards to meetings with the council.  Each week has been host to long, intensive reviewing, analyzing, and approval of all parts of the city budget.  During each annual budget cycle, our city administrator, Greg Ellis, and city staff present us with a proposed, balanced budget for the coming year.  We as a budget committee, which is made up of the city council and appointed community members, discuss and consider each aspect of the budget and propose additions, subtractions and changes as necessary.

My role in these proceedings is to provide my opinion, insight, history, and feedback for the budget topics.  I only vote on the budget if it results in a split vote among the councilors and budget committee.

We have also had similar meetings to discuss and approve the URD budget as well.

The result is our 2013-2014 proposed budget.

But these budgets are not final yet. To view the proposed city budget, please click here.  This budget also includes the budget for the URD (Urban Renewal District).  If you want to be involved, study this budget!  We will be voting for all parts of this budget on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013.  I urge you to attend and voice your opinion.  Some points of interest on this budget include:
  • In the URD budget we have money budgeted for several projects:
    • Quiet Zones (click here for a blog post I did on the topic in August 2012).  This amount has come down considerably from last year, yet I am still not a fan of this project.
    • Continued Facade improvement program
    • Purchase of additional park land
    • The creation of a revolving loan fund (low interest loan) for business capital improvements
    • Omission from last year's URD budget is funding of our plan to improve 99E (read my previous article on 99E by clicking here)
  • The City Budget:
    • Increased revenue that did not keep up with expenses namely, health care expenses and PERS, which resulted in decreases in all departments
    • $70,000 for the library to continue to meet current operating hours so they do not roll back to the district minimum
    • Conversation of making Transit director for CAT a paid city employee position versus contracting that service out
    • Moving CAT from downtown to another building at a cost of $72,000/yr
If these items and a host of others are of interest, I can't stress enough how important it is to get involved.  I know it can't be easy to come before the council to state a position.  

As always, you can always email or call me directly with your questions or concerns.  I look forward to seeing you next week.
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