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Council reviews proposed budget

By Staff | Sep 25, 2009

The Rugby City Council dissected the preliminary 2010 city budget last week, which is actually calling for a slight decrease in total mills levied.

That is a change from earlier in the month when it was thought the budget might see a small increase. Actually, the total levy is dropping by two mills. However, the levy rate is more since one mill this year generates more than last year, according to Karla Harmel, city auditor-administrator.

The city’s total amount levied remains around $500,000, and one mill generates about $4,000.

Terry Wentz, ward four councilman and chairman of the city finance committee, reviewed the departmental budgets during the council’s Sept. 21 special meeting.

The department that is seeing the biggest decline in expenditures is the city armory – about a $37,000 decrease.

Wentz explained some of the budgeted salary of armory caretaker, Troy Munyer, has been shifted to the street-sewer department where Munyer assists that department regularly. Also, only $5,000 has been budgeted for heating expenses, which is a drop of $10,000 from previous years. The building is heated more efficiently since an electric boiler was installed a few years ago. Expenditures at city hall and the municipal pool are also showing a decline.

Departments that will see budget increases include the police department – about $7,000 – for salary and needed overtime costs. A $12,000 increase to the city’s LEC budget to cover costs for office space at the law enforcement center and projected prison boarding costs is figured. A small increase of nearly $3,000 has been approved for the recreation budget. The fire department has a small increase in its budget for operations and equipment. The street and water budgets are about on par with last year.

The street department will use appropriated Department of Transportation (DOT) funds to pay for a skid-steer and large snow blower to allow snow removal to be conducted much faster on city streets.

The proposed budget is calling for a small wage increase for employees, which comes to 20 cents more per hour.

The city is expecting about $406,000 in infrastructure funds next year through city sales tax collections this year. The council approved setting aside $227,500 to pay a share of the principal and interest of the District 1-2009 street improvement project.

The city allocate $50,000 toward the Safe Routes to School project to install signage at school crossings. The city has been awarded $150,000 toward the project through the Department of Transportation. Another $25,000 has been appropriated toward pouring a concrete plank at one of the rail crossings on Main Ave. So. The city is applying for a grant to pay the remaining $75,000 of the project’s anticipated cost.

The final budget must be approved at the Oct. 5 council meeting.

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