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Posted on: November 13, 2019

City Council Begins Budget Discussion

City Council took a first look at the city’s 2020 budget during its Nov. 12 meeting. Mayor Tom O’Leary and Auditor Brian Treisch summarized the primary funds and changes made from prior budgets.

The 2020 budget assumes a 2.5% increase from income tax revenue. Insurance premiums will stay flat, rather than the original projection of an 18% increase which was originally given to the city.

The biggest change in the General Fund is that the Police and Fire Departments will each have two employees paid from Funds 103 and 104 (the tax levy funds for police and fire protection). Previous practice has been to have Funds 103 and 104 reimburse the General Fund at the end of the year.

“This is a big step forward. Both funds will maintain a steady balance even with this change,” O’Leary said.

The projected revenue for the Street Construction, Maintenance and Repair Fund is significantly higher due to the increase in the state gas tax approved earlier this year. As a result, the city has budgeted an additional $280,000 for expenditures in roadway infrastructure.

The Electric Fund assumes no change in the base electric rates. The city will continue to review the Power Cost Adjustment in February and August as required by ordinance. A combined $124,000 in capital improvements was budgeted for in the Water and Sewer Funds for required building maintenance and improvements at the Water Treatment Plant. City officials will monitor the revenues over expenses in these two funds next year.

The city also received a budget request from the Port Authority’s Board of Directors. Chad Miller spoke on behalf of the board. He explained the preliminary budget included administrative costs, specifically for legal and accounting fees to establish the organization.

Miller noted the board intends to request funding for specific projects later as they are identified and prioritized. No paid position is to be hired in the near future; a consultant would be utilized when a project is identified.

Council did not take action on the budget request that evening.

In legislation, council approved an updated Hazard Mitigation Plan. Safety-Service Nicole Ward explained it was a multi-jurisdictional plan for any disaster that may occur such as weather-related events, chemical spills, etc. The plan was previously approved by FEMA.

A bid authorization for purchasing two power cots for the Fire Department was also approved. The cost is not to exceed $80,000. These cots assist with lifting patients into and out of ambulances, as well as moving up and down stairs.

Two items of legislation were approved for appropriation adjustments and a second reading was held on legislation to update the codified ordinances to align with updated State laws.

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