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Council to vote on 2003 budget

Tim Willert

For the past two months, the City Council has wrestled with ways

to overcome a projected $8-million budget deficit and bring revenues

in line with expenditures.

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On Tuesday, the council will consider adopting a $580-million

spending plan that includes a variety of strategies, transfers and

expense reductions designed to balance the budget.

“At some time you have to make your best estimate based on revenue

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projections and expenditures,” Councilman Dave Weaver said Friday.

“It has to be balanced. But my guess is we’re going to go in the hole

because revenues are not keeping up with expenditures.”

The council is also proposing a host of fee hikes and new fees to

offset the deficit, and will consider raising fees for building

permits and fire inspection fees at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I don’t want to balance the budget on the backs of residents by

increasing fees,” Councilman Gus Gomez said Friday.

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The budget’s nearly $111-million General Fund includes $2 million

for 81 new hires, which Gomez dislikes. “When the state or any public

agency is having budget problems they don’t hire more people,” he

said. “They freeze positions and make due with what they have.”

Although the council is required to adopt the budget by the end of

June, the plan is subject to change, and can be updated as the

council sees fit, officials said.


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