Friday, June 8, 2012

Residents Discuss New Budget & Council Decision

To All COLA LO Members,  

The City Council voted on a new budget this week after receiving the recommended budget form the Citizens Budget Committee.   The council voted 4-3 to reverse the recommendation to leave property taxes flat this year, effectively increasing property taxes.  

Details can be found in several articles:   City Council Overturns Budget and City Council Sends Budget Back.  

Residents testified during the budget process for five weeks during April - May.    It will be interesting to observe the community reaction to the changes and the perception of the council's direction.  

Some comments from the council meeting include:  

Budget Committee Chairman Kent Studebaker and Vice Chairman David Berg told the council the recommended plan resulted from many hours spent analyzing city finances.
“We do not think this is an austere budget,” Studebaker said. “There were no program cuts. We did try to rein in costs in the personnel area by getting an agreement from the city manager to cut personnel costs by $350,000.”
“We believe overall this is a very balanced budget,” Berg said. “It not only provides our residents with relief on taxes, but it also begins to address some of the long-term issues facing the city.”
Berg added that he felt citizens bringing funding requests to the committee generally understood there were limited resources to pay for extra projects like new artificial turf on one of the school district’s sports fields.
Former committee member Dan Williams also spoke in favor of the recommended budget, including the property tax reduction.
“The dollar amount might not be large, but the message is,” he said.

The Council meeting can be observed at the following site LO City Council June 5 Meeting.

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