No budget cuts in near future, City Manager Caulfield tells MLT Council

By Doug Petrowski

Despite a forecast calling for less city revenue that what had been expected, the city will continue to have balanced budgets with no cuts in the near future, City Manager John Caulfield told the city council earlier this week.

Caulfield made the pronouncement as part of the 2013-2018 city financial forecast presented to the council at its Sept. 17 meeting.

“As we look out through 2018, we’re projected to have a balanced operating budget with sound underlying financial policies in place,” Caulfield said. “We expect to be able to maintain current levels of service across all functions (with) no program or service reductions or layoffs at this time.”

The proposed 2013-2014 general government biennial budget, to be formally presented to the council for the first time on Oct. 1, will show $35.9 million in expected operating revenues for the city. Revenues come from property, sales, utility, and gambling taxes, and other various fees and collections.

Plans call for spending $35.5 million in the 2013-2014 biennial budget — half of which goes to public safety — another fourth of that budget in recreation and parks, and the rest to various civic services (human resources, finance, development, land use, community outreach and others).

The latest forecast predicts city revenues will total $17.7 million in 2013 and $18.2 million in 2014. Just four years ago, the city was projecting that revenue would top $20.6 million in 2013 and $21.3 million in 2014.

Caulfield referred to the change in the financial forecast as “conservative revenue assumptions to reflect our current economic conditions.”

Following the presentation of the proposed 2013-2014 budget on Oct. 1, the council will hear from various city departments and consider any changes to property and utility taxes and development, recreation and park fees later in October and November. The council vote to adopt the 2013-2014 biennial budget is scheduled for Nov. 19.

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