Council to consider revamped city budget

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— The 2001 city budget, considered one of the tightest in years by city officials before the October budget retreat, may get even tighter.
The City Council will vote tonight on whether to approve the revised budget, which would force the city to dip $450,000 into its reserves.
Since the original budget talks, the city has proposed a number of new items to be financed in the budget.
The Transit Department needs a $62,553 grant match increase to secure a federal grant to finance new vehicles, while the Regional Affordable Living Foundation is asking for its usual $35,000 that was left out of the original budget.
The bus department, in part because of the grant, will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by 2002.
Other smaller items have added to the city's deficit, pushing expenditures to $34,883,317 on revenues of $34,424,123.
Because the city recently agreed to increase what planning department officials said were abnormally low planning fees, some people in the community thought the city might have some extra cash on hand and council recently received new requests for community support funding.
The city, however, had already included the projected revenue from the fees in the original budget, even though the City Council had not yet approved the new fees.
Council President Kevin Bennett said that anticipating the revenue from the fees before approving the fees was an "irregular" action but noted that the City Council had indicated its support for the new fees before the budget was proposed.
He also said most of the revenue sources proposed in the budget are, in fact, based on projections that might not manifest.
Sales tax revenues, for instance, are projected to increase next year, though sales tax receipts are based primarily on the strength of the tourist season.
The tourist season, in turn, is based heavily on the amount of snow that falls on the city in the winter.
The revenue in the 2001 budget, because it is based on projections, many of them (such as sales tax) conservative, will likely change as the year progresses and the city ascertains the actual state of the economy.
The city will vote on items to be funded in omnibus ordinances throughout 2001.
The third omnibus ordinance for 2000, which provides for items such as Wastewater Main Improvements and an economic analysis done by a group of consultants, will also be reviewed tonight.

To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail asalzman@amigo.net

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