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CITY BUDGET PROCESS SMOOTH SAILING

City Finance Director Randy Reed says budget is a breeze. ().
City Finance Director Randy Reed says budget is a breeze. ().

The City of Brookings fiscal year budget for 2001-02 is expected to receive final approval at Monday nights city council meeting.

According to Randy Reed, city finance director and recorder, the budgeting process this spring has been relatively calm.

To be quite frank, he said Wednesday, this has been the most pleasant budget process I have ever been involved in.

In working with the different departments, there have been no problems. When we started the process, (city manager) Leroy (Blodgett) and I made it clear that we need to hold the line on everything.

Im real proud of the department heads for doing just that.

The total proposed budget for the fiscal year 2001-02 is $16,982,856. That figure represents a $1,939,256 or 12.9 percent increase from the $15,043,600 budget for the last fiscal year. Reed said that increase is somewhat deceptive.

The vast majority of the increase comes from a $1,589,677 payment to the Oregon State Revolving Loan for the waste water treatment plant, he said. There is also the $120,000 in the budget for the (proposed) skate park.

If you take those figures out of the increase, you are looking at an actual budget increase of $29,579 (or 1.5 percent).

One reason the budget did not escalate at a higher rate is that city employee salaries remain the same, although all employees will notice a bigger take-home paycheck in the new fiscal year.

The increase in wages will come from the city picking up the PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) contribution, Reed said. So there will be an increase in the amount of money the employees will take home, but there is no across the board wage increase.

Employees will still be eligible for merit increases.

Any changes to the budget after it is put into effect July 1 would need to be made by supplemental budget resolutions or transfers, according to Reed. Transfers can only be made from the general fund and not to it.

Supplemental budgets are subject to public hearing if there is an increase of 10 percent or more. All transfers and supplemental budgets are open to public input during regular council process.

The city tax base is limited by Oregon Measure 50 to 3 percent per annum. The only exceptions are a serial (short-term) levy, or a general obligation (long-term) bond levy, which is capital-project specific.

Reed said the city doesnt foresee any major unexpected expenditures or income in the coming year, although those things are always taken into consideration during the budget process and throughout the fiscal year.

We are not concerned yet about any possible large budget changes, he said, but we always are monitoring for those kind of things.

There is no way of knowing what might happen during a given year.

Reed said that he and Blodgett did their best to keep the budget process uncomplicated.

Leroy and I both approached the budget trying to make everything straight forward and easily understood, he said,

When we put the budget together, as much as possible, we tried to make few changes. And the changes we did make, we highlighted in the budget so they were easy to identify.

There were only a few changes, mostly combining a few material and line items.

Blodgett expressed his satisfaction with the budgeting process.

It was a fairly cooperative and easy process, he said on Thursday. It was a little difficult for Randy and I since it was our first year, there was a learning curve.

We didnt make a lot of changes in the way the budget is presented.

One thing that impressed Blodgett about the budgeting process was how uncomplicated it turned out.

It was well put together and well presented, he said, because of the work of all the staff and (Reed).

I received comments from more than one member of the budget committee who said it was well presented and easy to understand. Thats primarily why it took only one meeting of the budget committee to process it.

I was pleasantly surprised we could do it in one meeting.

Reed expects the process of final approval by the city council to be quick and painless on Monday evening. During a June 11 public hearing on the budget, there was no public comment for or against, no questions were raised, and there was no comment from the council members or Mayor Bob Hagbom.

I expect everything will be approved, Reed said.

Public comment will be limited on Monday to during the unscheduled comment period of the council agenda because the public hearing has already been held, Reed said. He added that comment period would take place before the budget resolution is considered for final approval by the council.

Reed said that by Oregon law, a budget resolution needs to only be passed once there is no second reading. Additionally, the budget is required to be in place by July 1 of each year.

The city council will meet at 7 p.m in the council chambers at city hall.

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