|Committee sends BG budget to full council|
|Written by By HAROLD BROWN/Sentinel City Editor|
|Monday, 19 November 2012 09:32|
Bowling Green’s proposed 2013 budget received the unanimous recommendation of city council’s Finance Committee Thursday evening.
All seven council members attended the 80-minute session, along with many city administrators and department heads. Council members were furnished with detailed budget books about two weeks ago.
Council will likely introduce the 2013 budget legislation at its Dec. 3 meeting and give it a first reading.
Municipal Administrator John Fawcett told the committee the budget reflects the hard work of many people and praised department heads for their understanding of the realities of the financial times.
The budget allows filling three of four vacant police officer positions and one operator in the public works department. One part-time parks and recreation administrative assistant would be moved to full-time. The city anticipates retirement of one fire lieutenant, a public works operator and an engineering technician. The budget allows replacements for all three positions.
“The ability to helped protect the population by the hiring three police officers is a plus. It seems like a really good step,” committee member Michael Aspacher said.
“Last year you (council) approved filling firefighter vacancies in 2012. Public safety is paramount. Over the two years (2012 and 2013) the city has been able to regain some ground in those two divisions,” Fawcett said.
To a question about funds for sidewalks from Council President John Zanfardino, Fawcett said there is $160,000 in the street construction in the budget, some of which could possible be used for that purpose. “The input of the public works director will have a lot to say about how those dollars are expended.”
Committee chairperson Robert McOmber said there were “a lot of hard choices that had to be made. I think the staff and the department heads made the right choices.” McOmber said he is hopeful the city’s general fund can begin to show some growth after losses due to the end of the state estate tax and cuts in the local government fund. “I went back several years to find a high point and comparing it to now it looks to me the loss is a little over $2 million a year. That is pretty dramatic in a fund that has $14 to $15 million in it.”
McOmber said that in his seven years on council he has never been more concerned about how the budget would come together. “I had several discussions with you and Lori (Tretter, assistant municipal administrator). I wondered how you would ever do it, yet you found a way. Under the circumstances I think this is quite an accomplishment.”
Last Monday council and the Board of Public Utilities held a joint work session to review the 2013 utility budgets. The utility budget is included in the overall city budget that council must approve by Dec. 31.
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