By Carolyn Marnon –
The City Council approved the proposed 2015/16 budget at the city council meeting on May 19 by a vote of 5-2. Looking forward, the council is going to have to come up with ways to trim at least $1.6 million from the 2016/17 budget next year.
Current revenues will not make the city self-sufficient. Finding additional streams of revenue while holding down costs will be important.
Representatives of Plante Moran were able to reduce the city budget from 180 pages to 60 and the number of funds from 24 down to 10. At an April 11 public budget session, Brian Camiller stated “Government is a little bit more complicated, a little different than what you’ve come to expect working out in the private sector.” His goal was to make the budget easier for residents to understand. He told the audience at that meeting he felt past budget decisions were made based on the information that was available to those councils at that point in time. What was done in the past cannot be undone.
With the budget that ended June 30, 2014, it was noted that other funds available to the city paid for things rather than payment coming directly from the General Fund.
On paper, it looked like the city lost $120,000 when in actuality, it lost $2.1 million. At the end of the 2014-2015 budget, it looks like the General Fund will break even because other funds have been paying for things. However, it’s not breaking even.
It won’t be this way going forward. At the end of the current budget period June 30, everything is coming back into the General Fund. Expenditures are going to exceed revenues by $2.2 million if everything stays the same. Mr. Camiller stressed that there was not any one reason that led to this situation; there are dozens of reasons. It will take a multiple year transition along with research, time, cooperation with other entities and negotiation to get everything on the right track.