The budget is based on projected flat revenue over last year. Increases are offset by freezing step-raises for all employees, cutting back the maximum appropriation to outside human services agencies from 3 percent to 2.5 percent, and approving reduction in force proposals for the community appearance, parks and recreation and water and sewer departments. Most, but not all, of the positions that will be eliminated are currently vacant.
For instance, in the community appearance department, one supervisor, a forester/horticulturist and three labor maintenance positions will be eliminated, at a savings of $171,920.32, including benefits.
According to City Manager Brian Muenger, the parks and recreation department has transferred lawn maintenance to the community appearance department and leased the golf course to a private company. Other steps, including eliminating one assistant director position, two center supervisors and two custodians, a museum supervisor, combining aquatics director and senior programs director, and one labor maintenance and nutrition assistant position will also be combined. This will save an estimated $462,217.60 in payroll and $138,665.28 in benefits.
In the public works department, the approved changes eliminate an assistant director’s position, a shop foreman, an equipment operator and three labor positions for a savings of $160,888, plus $48,266.50 in benefits.
The water and sewer department budget was unanimously approved by a separate vote.
The other major piece of business Monday night was the approval of top goals for the coming fiscal year. These include industrial recruitment (with subcategories including improving city schools, improving quality of life and bringing in industrial development), partnerships with the schools to make the area more attractive to new industries, improvements to parks, sidewalks and green spaces, more competitive employee benefits and improved infrastructure.
Also Monday, the council:
O Announced that the city had been awarded grant money for two school resource officers.
O Amended the budget for last year to show actual revenues and expenditures.
O Agreed, at the recommendation of council president Horace Patterson, to reconsider the outside expenditures and employees step-freezes as the year progresses.
O Heard Muenger announce that he would be approaching the county commission about a water project near the airport.
O Saw Mayor Larry Barton administer the oath of office to Buster Taylor for the TOP Trails Board.
O Heard Barton commend the manager and council for their work on the budget.