Council works on budgetThe Jamestown City Council tackled a projected $600,000 difference in the 2012 preliminary budget compared to the 2011 Jamestown budget during a special meeting Wednesday. The starting point for the process was a $6.6 million preliminary budget compared to about $6 million in current year spending.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown City Council tackled a projected $600,000 difference in the 2012 preliminary budget compared to the 2011 Jamestown budget during a special meeting Wednesday. The starting point for the process was a $6.6 million preliminary budget compared to about $6 million in current year spending.
The preliminary budget figures use a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for employees along with a step raise of 2 percent on the employee’s anniversary of employment.
“We will balance this budget,” said Mayor Katie Andersen. “I anticipate that we will balance the budget at the same mill levy as last year.”
Jamestown residents paid a mill rate of 110.66 mills last year. The property value in Jamestown increased by an estimated 2.2 percent with each mill of taxes generating about $28,300 for the city. The preliminary budget does not include any increases to utility costs in Jamestown.
The council took no action during the hearing Wednesday but did effectively remove the engineering cost of the Mill Hill road project from the tentative 2012 budget. The project had been paid in 2011 and the move effectivly lowered the preliminary budget by about $117,000.
That, along with some other budget adjustments, produced about $125,000 in tentative cuts, said Jeff Fuchs, city administrator. That leaves about $475,000 in cuts necessary to lower the budget to the 2011 levels.
The City Council discussed several cost-cutting measures including cutting the city’s contribution to Central Valley Health District.
“What services wouldn’t we get if we don’t pay anything to CVHD?” Andersen asked.
Andersen asked Fuchs to check into the budget of the health district and report at the next budget meeting.
Another option suggested was to provide City Council members with computers instead of furnishing paper copies of information.
One suggestion that would save the most money came from Reed Schwartzkopf, city engineer.
“We burn a lot of money in temporary people for snow removal,” he said. “We could save up to $200,000 if people are willing to live with longer snow removal times.”
The council discussed reducing reimbursement rates to private contractors used in the snow removal process.
Snow removal costs for the last winter amounted to $1.7 million with the city budgeting about $1.5 million for the task.
The council will hold another special meeting at 1 p.m. on Sept. 15 at City Hall. On the agenda are budgets for the utility funds and funding for civic groups such as City Beautification. Andersen said the council could begin finalizing cuts at that meeting.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org