City to start reviewing 2002 budget

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— In preparing for the 2002 budget year, the city is hoping to trade last year's pruning shears for children's safety scissors.

Wary of having to cut programs and projects or dig into the city's reserves to maintain the level of city services as the city grows, City Council will review the needs of city departments tonight at a 2002 budget work session.

City Council members have repeatedly stressed that they are not willing to cut as much as they had to when they reviewed the 2001 budget.

Even before council got its hands on the 2001 budget last year, city staff had cut almost $3 million in funding for capital projects.

The figures on the table tonight are only preliminary and will be fleshed out as the city prepares for the Oct. 2 budget retreat.

With a vote on impact fees on the horizon, the city may get help funding some of its growth-related capital projects, but has already started discussing adding a new revenue source to be placed on the ballot in November.

Impact fees do not need to go to the voters, but must be collected in proportion to the costs associated with new development. They would help the city only with its capital needs generated by new development.

Any current capital or operational shortfalls would not be covered by the fees.

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