Auburn City Council Approved Budget at Sept. 14 Special Mtg.
During a Sept. 14 special meeting, Auburn City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget. As apparently all council members had suggestions or questions about the document prepared for this month’s regular meeting and following considerable discussion that Friday night, the budget was approved.
Opposition to ‘S’ Street Paving
Discussion on the proposed budget primarily focused on $200,000 designated to be set aside to save enough money over two years to pave “S” Street north of Highway 136 to the paved street in Glenrock Addition.
Mayor Scott Kudrna’s proposed $200,000 for paving “S” Street met opposition from all council members present. Instead, the consensus voiced was that there are other tasks which the Street Department could complete with additional monies available.
Council Members’ Comments:
Frank Critser said other smaller projects could benefit from the $200,000 in Street Department funds instead of it being designated for “S” Street.
Larry Holtzman said he didn’t want to see the money designated for “S” Street. Instead, Holtzman knew of several intersections and some storm sewers which need attention. He also mentioned limited manpower available to do the Street Department’s routine tasks.
Mitch Bishop said he had heard from people who are upset about the proposed “S” Street paving and they have told him some of that money should instead go towards hiring an additional person for the Street Department to assist with work at the City Recreation Complex, Legion Memorial Park and elsewhere.
Katy Billings said the monies should go towards existing city streets needing repair and commented that Street Superintendent Harry Bridgmon should be included in the discussions on how to best spend money regarding streets.
Mary Kruger voiced her agreement with the rest of the council members’ concerns and recommended that a person be assigned to keep track of the watering system at the Rec Complex and other tasks so Bridgmon could focus on more street-related work.
Kudrna said all of the city’s recreational facilities have continued to be maintained despite less available staffing. In addition, he said the sprinkler system at the Rec Complex is working better now than it has for the past few years.
The recommendation of improving some intersections and having money available to work on some sections of street which are breaking up was mentioned by the council members present as a better use of these funds.
More Cameras Not Approved for Police Department
Another budget item which the council voiced its concerns with was a $20,000 capital outlay for surveillance cameras for the Auburn Police Department.
Billings said, “In my opinion, a $20,000 capital outlay for cameras for the Police is not the best use of money at this time.” She recommended splitting the amount between the city’s eight departments for capital outlay expenses.
In response to a question if the Police Department could find other uses for the $20,000 designated for capital outlay, Police Chief Kris Baker said “We have plenty of other things for which we could use those capital outlay funds.” Baker also stated his preference that if money was available he would instead like to see an additional officer hired. However, that wasn’t an option mentioned as available to him at budget preparation time.
Bishop asked, “Are we doing anyone a favor by splitting this $20,000 eight ways?”
Kudrna said, “The idea of acquiring additional cameras came up as a way to speed up and make some work less burdensome for the Auburn Police. The tool could better utilize an officer’s time.”
Baker said, “I was asked for input on how the cameras could be useful and where I thought they should be placed, if approved. The original proposal was for $30,000 for these cameras and with that extra money, my recommendations included cameras at the Rec Complex.”
When the possible funding for cameras was cut from $30,000 to $20,000, Baker recommended that the Rec Complex cameras be cut.
Baker repeated, “I would choose hiring an additional police officer over this equipment any time. The Department has seen a cut of two officers and a secretary.”
Critser directed the following comment towards Baker, “You as Police Chief need to let us know if we need additional staffing.”
A motion was then made to leave the $20,000 designated for the Police Department as capital outlay, but to designate its use as equipment and equipment maintenance, and to designate the $200,000 for the Street Department to be used for capital improvements, but not towards the paving of “S” Street on the north side of the city. This vote passed 5-0.
Salary Ordinance Adopted
After some discussion, the Salary Ordinance was approved as presented. It was noted that the salaries of permanent full-time and permanent part-time employees would increase about two percent, with a few exceptions. Among the exceptions was a 4% increase for the Police Chief, who declined a proposed 2% increase last year and did not accept a raise at the time when his staff was being reduced in number. Also, the Administrative Assistant’s pay was raised about 2.6 percent.
Critser voiced his concern that there could be tension among employees if some receive pay raises different than others. The Mayor explained that the Police Chief’s raise would have been only 2% if he had agreed to accept a 2% raise last year, which Baker declined.
The vote on the Salary Ordinance resulted in yes votes from Holtzman, Bishop and Billings, and nay votes from Critser and Kruger. However, City Attorney Angelo Ligouri said a majority vote was necessary to pass the ordinance. Plus, Shawn Clark’s absence meant his vote would basically be counted as not in the affirmative so the tally was three yes and three no votes. Mayor Kudrna broke the tie by voting for the Salary Ordinance.
2012-13 Budget Particulars
Amounts allocated by Departments:
General—City Hall: $300,950
Parks and City Rec: $95,442
Swimming Pool: $49,995
Fire Department: $13,456
Senior Center: $28,300
Debt Service: $278,490.
Projected Local Sources of Revenue at $1,211,902 include:
$510,563 in property taxes;
$400,000 in sales taxes ($50,000 restricted to road use);
$183,000 in franchise fees ($116,000 Board of Public Works and $67,000 others);
$65,000 in motor vehicle taxes;
$44,700 minimum due in paving assessments;
$87,600 in city fees, licenses or services.
Non Local Sources—$580,464
Restricted to road use ($290,000 in Federal Highway funds and $26,500 in motor vehicle fees);
$198,045 in Equalization monies;
$8,769 in State MFO monies; and
$25,000 in State Homestead Exemptions.
Total Revenue: $1,792,366
Total Operating: $1,649,599
Net: $142,767 with a $34,325 cash carryover.
2012-13 Capital Items
$10,000 for Fire Department garage doors
$20,000 for AVFD truck reserve
$10,000 for pool filter
$4,000 for crumb rubber at Rec Complex
$21,000 for resurfacing tennis/basketball courts
$3,000 for nets for batting cage
$22,000 for new pickup and two sanders
$40,000 for a bridge on “P” Street
$22,590 for last payment on loader