Craig City Council introduces 2012 proposed budget

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In other action …

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 7-0, renewing retail liquor store liquor license for Loadout Liquors.

• Approved, 7-0, renewing retail liquor store liquor license for Dark Horse Liquor.

• Heard and approved, 7-0, a proclamation declaring November as “Not Even Once Month,” a national campaign to curb methamphetamine use in youths.

• Awarded, 7-0, $20,925 bid to Jenison Custom Builders to furnish and install a membrane roofing system at the Center of Craig. The work is accompanied by a 15-year manufacturer warranty for materials and installation.

• Approved, 7-0, renewing employment contract with Kevin Peck as Municipal Judge.

• Approved, 7-0, renewing employment contract with Sherman Romney as Associate Municipal Judge.

• Heard September month end financial report from finance director Bruce Nelson.

• Heard water and wastewater monthly reports from Mark Sollenberger.

— Also on the agenda was a resolution to renew a 3.2 percent beer retail liquor license for Safeway. A vote on the item was postponed because a Safeway representative was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

The Craig City Council introduced Tuesday night its proposed budget for 2012, which shows total funds increasing next year by 4.1 percent.

Bruce Nelson, Craig Finance Director, said the increase over 2011’s budget can be attributed to a number of factors including revenue from mineral leases and severance taxes that exceeded budget projections made about this time last year.

According to financial records, officials estimated the city would receive $553,000 in mineral lease money and $127,000 in severance taxes in 2011.

To date, the city has received $1,006,660 in mineral lease revenue and $387,877 in severance taxes — a “bonus,” as councilman Don Jones described it, of more than $700,000.

Jones asked what next year’s budget would have looked like without the unexpected boost from the city’s mineral lease contracts and severance taxes.

“We would be about $400,000 in the hole,” Nelson said. “And we would have had to cut some things out of next year’s budget.”

Jim Ferree, Craig City Manager, said had the city been forced to cut money from the 2012 budget, it more than likely would have come out of the capital outlay fund which pays for city projects and equipment purchases.

But that wasn’t a conversation city officials needed to have.

Ferree said it is also important to note that the city was able to improve next year’s budget by limiting its spending in 2011, particularly with respect to certain “special funds.”

For example, the solid waste, All Crimes Enforcement Team, medical benefits and Center of Craig funds will all increase in 2012 by at least 16.9 percent, which Ferree said is largely due to prudent fiscal decisions made during the course of the year.

The only special fund not receiving an increase in its budget is the wastewater fund, which is taking an 8 percent hit over 2011.

Ferree said decreased wastewater funds are probably due in part because of the aeration manifold system in the South Oxidation Ditch required repairs in August that were unanticipated and therefore, unbudgeted.

Even so, when considered as a whole, special funds are going to be 8.2 percent healthier in 2012 than in 2011. General funds will increase by 1.4 percent. Taken together, the total 2012 proposed budget is 4.1 percent bigger than in 2011.

Overall, city officials expect total revenue and carry-over reserves from 2011 to exceed $24.1 million. $17.9 million is already appropriated to the 2012 budget. The remaining $6.2 million will be deposited in reserves.

City council will officially “read” the proposed 2012 budget for the first time during its Nov. 8 meeting. The public is invited to attend and provide comments.

The budget is then scheduled to be voted on and approved Nov. 22. It will become effective Jan. 1, 2012.

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