|BG budget grim|
|Written by By JENISE FOUTS Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 22 September 2009 09:39|
The city of Bowling Green is taking a three-tier approach to dealing with its expected budget shortfall for 2010.
During council's meeting Monday, City Administrator John Fawcett presented an eight-page letter to members, outlining the three tiers: Continuation of 2009 reductions and organizational efficiencies, plans to deal with an anticipated shortfall of $400,000 in the 2010 General Fund and strategies if the .08 percent income tax levy fails or if revenues continue to decline. (A story detailing information on the three tiers will run later in the week.)
Fawcett added there will be a series of communications to the public "to put out the facts."
"The city has done a good job of making the best out of a bad situation," stated Councilman Robert McOmber. He said he liked the portion of the letter which stated, "The reductions we have projected are not intended to be punitive. We are trying to maintain as many essential services as possible and these reductions are designed to eliminate and/or reduce items that may be more discretionary."
"It's not 'we'll show you,'" McOmber paraphrased. "We work with what we have. The public gets to make the choice. You picked items that'll minimize the effects on the public. I thought it was a very good effort."
Councilman Jacob Redfern asked if the income tax revenue deficit could be higher. Fawcett responded the projection appears to be at 5 percent. "We're hopeful it'll only be 5 percent. As time gets closer to the end of the year we'll have a more solid number."
Mayor John Quinn received two new additions for City Hall. Wendy Stram, director of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitor's Bureau, presented a framed aerial photo taken in July when the Family Motor Coach Association held its convention at Bowling Green State University.
"I'd be remiss if I didn't come and thank the city for all their hard work for the Family Motor Coach Association's international convention," she stated, adding the photo was a memento for City Hall. "Hang it proudly."
Quinn praised Stram's work as an "enormous contribution to that event. We're still hearing good things."
The mayor acknowledged Barbara Keller, a member of the Bowling Green Human Relations Commission, and the Diamante Award statuette which the commission had received. He explained the commission has helped sponsor the Cinqo de Mayo event in the city and has raised thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for Latino students at BGSU.
On behalf of the commission, Keller presented the award back to the city for display in City Hall. "It's an honor to have been a recipient," she said, noting the commission has 11 members. She said the award was because of its support for scholarships.
Quinn said a recognition plaque will go with the statuette to explain the accomplishment of the human rights commission.
After the meeting Keller said "diamante" is Spanish for diamond. According to information on the Web about the Sept. 11 Diamante Awards presentation, they were established in 1989 and are now a collaborative effort between BGSU, UT, Owens Community College and Lourdes College to make sure that Latinos are recognized for their community outreach efforts and to provide scholarships so Latino students can attend college.
First readings were given to ordinances dealing with nonbargaining salary schedules and salaried employees not subject to overtime pay, as well as an agreement with Bowling Green City Schools for installation and maintenance of fiber optic communications cable and an agreement with Tontogany for wholesale electric service.
Two ordinances were tabled pending public hearings scheduled for both on Oct. 5 at 7:45 p.m., related to the fee for processing an S-District site plan and concerning agricultural animals. After the meeting Quinn said the latter item had never been a problem, residents not keeping chickens, goats, etc. in the city, but it had also not been codified.
Public hearings are set for Oct. 19 at 7:45 p.m. for ordinances regarding rain gardens and storm water management.
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