Council Talks Budget @ Work Session

by Don on September 23, 2009

in City Council

During the Council’s September 22, 2009 work session we surfaced budget topics to be discussed in preparation for developing the 2010 – 2011 budget. We want to have time to give input to the budget as it is developed. We intend to look at the budget in light of the goals we articulated during our Council Retreat. The topics we identified were:

  • Charts indicating departments standing with respect to the budget provided at each work session
  • Be aware of Winter’s potential impact on Budget
  • Importance of the amount of budget carry-over
  • Suggestions for Golf Course and Rec Center step to move toward paying for themselves
  • Opportunities for public private partnerships
  • Establishing a foundation for the City
  • Municipality reserve fund. A fund for emergencies
  • Bonds to pay off
  • Specifically what does tough mean when it was said the budget will be tough for 2010 -2011
  • Continued report on status of sales tax – up $10,000 over same time last year
  • Chamber/Devco does not recruit retail. So City’s work on recruiting retail will be more and more important. What can the City do? Ref. Map Info report may be helpful for this discussion
  • How can departments be asked to cut 5% spreading those cuts through the department?
  • What policy decisions would need to be made to support a request to make across the board cuts?
  • Create two lists: One list of the things we have to do and one list of things we don’t have to do.
  • Diversify revenue streams. What are the possibilities?
  • Specific suggestions for providing property tax relief
  • What consequences on property taxes if we just continued to request the same dollar amount? How would that impact departments?

A focused discussion on the budget will be a standing agenda item for each Council work session. Our discussions on the budget will be guided by the goals or visioning ideas that came from our recent retreat. Those goals are, in priority order:

  1. Reduce property tax levy
  2. Shrink City Government
  3. Downtown Redevelopment
  4. Work better with various stakeholders
  5. Continue retail sector development.

Following the retreat the Mayor and Administration agreed to take the five goals and prepare concrete action plans to move the City toward accomplishing those goals. The City Administrator assured us at the September 22nd work session that he is preparing specific action plans that will outline our plan for the coming year. As items come to the Council for our consideration I will always ask, “Does this action move us toward or away from the goals we have articulated. I do wonder if we need a council resolution to formalize the goals that came from the retreat. I will find out.

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