Council OKs Tight $13.4-Million Budget

Despite a shrinking pool of income, the city should still be able to squeak through the 1998-99 fiscal year with a $13.4-million budget, City Manager Keith Till told the City Council this week. The council approved the budget 4 to 0.

Till delivered his annual budget report with a series of slides that showed cracked sidewalks, rusted sewer lines and other "deferred maintenance" problems the city has been putting off for decades. The budget sets aside $6.4 million for capital improvements.

"We have some pretty serious neglect out there that we're trying to get to over time," Till told the council. The city's financial situation "isn't quite as bleak as the slides I've been showing, but it's tenuous at best."

Despite Till's concern that state lawmakers will move to take even more money from cities, council members William Doane and Shawn Boyd insisted on finding a way to cut the city's controversial 11% utility users tax before the 1999-2000 budget.

The council will meet in six months to discuss ways to cut the tax.

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