Sunday, May 11, 2008


The rationale for the poll question regarding next year’s assessment is to see whether we could possibly save another $150,000.00 by putting it off in exchange for a pledge not to increase the real estate tax next year. I’ve been opposed to putting off the assessment because we made a promise to city residents to go on a two-year assessment cycle to avoid the sticker shock we’ve gone through in the past and because the values have obviously come down since the last assessment. This option saves us some money this year in exchange for no real estate tax increase next year. To ensure no tax increase next year would also mean we would have to push all major Capital projects currently scheduled back at least a year.

Based on my conversations with other Council members there is still no majority consensus on the budget. Staff is pushing for a reduction of expenditures of $200,000 to provide a 2% raise for city employees beginning in January. Based on their calculations we can show approx. $150,000.00 in savings as outlined in my last post as a result of passing through the state reductions on to the affected Constitutional Officers and programs. This leaves only another $50,000 in reductions needed to be found. I am not in favor of this proposal.

The school budget will pass as is with an additional $1 million in funding but still $1.2 million short of the School Boards request. No one is interested in going back and reducing their budget further. Head Start funding will also be maintained at the staff recommended level, which also leaves them with a shortfall.

Mr. Dixon and myself have asked staff to let us know if there would be any additional savings if we maintained a hiring freeze, except in regard to public safety, through this year. We will get our answer at Tuesday night’s work session.

Based on my numbers here are the savings identified to date:

Additional 5% cuts in Outside Agencies $350,000.00
Budget/State Savings $153,000.00
Put off Assessment $150,000.00
Hiring Freeze Savings ?

As per my previous post there are still some questions regarding the cuts to Constitutional Officers. Why the Sheriff is taking such a big hit and the Clerk of the Court is not taking much of cut at all beyond the loss of a rent payment we should not be paying in the first place? Currently there is NOT majority support for these propsed reductions.

Mr. Dixon and myself hope to have a budget proposal to put before Council on Tuesday night. More to follow.

To go beyond what has been outlined in my previous posts would require cuts in services and staff. What are your thoughts on such a course of action?

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