Woodcutters, services, projects face the axe: City to trim $1-1.5 million from budget | CraigDailyPress.com

Woodcutters, services, projects face the axe: City to trim $1-1.5 million from budget

City will restructure Craig Police Department, deeper cuts proposed for 2019

The Craig City Council directed its staff to cut at least $1 million —maybe up to about $1.5 million over the next 18 month — to balance the city’s budget. And if city revenues don't increase there could be a shortfall of about $4 million by 2019-20 and that would mean even deeper cuts that could include such events as Whittle the Wood.

"A balanced budget is a city charter requirement. This is the duty of the city manager to present. We have asked staff to give us some options to choose from," said Mayor John Ponikvar.

The city is projecting $8 million in revenue in 2017 and under $8 million in 2018.  In comparison, city revenues were almost $12 million in 2008.

The city has "held the line" on expenditures, said Finance Director Bruce Nelson. Between 2008-2016, the city has spent between about $9 million and $10 million dollars annually. A chart of revenues and expenditures can be found on the City Finance Department website.

"$1.3 million must be cut permanently until you have more revenue. That means cutting services and that means cutting personnel," Nelson said.

To bring the budget in line with revenues, over the next 18 months, each department has proposed cuts:

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• Parks and Recreation Department proposes to trim $195,000

• Road and BridgeDepartment: $452,000

• Craig Police Department: $190,000

• Council Capitol Fund: $300,000

These budget cuts will result in a restructure of the Craig Police Department.

One commander position will be eliminated and replaced with a Detective-Sergeant, and one investigative officer position will be eliminated as a result of attrition, reducing the department by one full-time employee.

In a memo providing options to achieve annual "savings," Chief of Police Walt Vanatta wrote, "0ur police officer staffing levels are at a minimum and any reduction of police officer positions will have a negative impact on services, regardless of what position is eliminated."

However, City Manager Mike Foreman and Mayor Ponikvar are confident the police department will be able to maintain service and public safety.

"That's why we cut from the top, not from the bottom. We need those officers out there," said Ponikvar.

He also believes that the department has already demonstrated the ability to operate with one less commander.

"Jerry (Commander Delong) served in Steamboat from April-November 2015 with no ill effects or loss of effectiveness from the Craig PD," wrote Ponikvar in an email he sent following an interview with a reporter on Wednesday.

While additional restructuring may occur, lay-offs are not proposed at this time, as "there will be new opportunities for employees to take other jobs," Foreman said.

City department heads made their case to city council on May 23. City council met again on Tuesday at an open meeting.

Department heads were not at the table Tuesday as to prevent city council interference with administrative functions as required by the city charter.

City personnel now have until August to fine-tune their proposals, and City Council plans to hold additional budget workshops throughout the summer, including consideration of a tax measure for the November ballot.

"I think you can expect us to move forward with a ballot initiative this fall," said Ponikvar.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education

On the chopping block

The Craig City Charter requires that a proposed budget from the City Manager, be presented to the Craig City Council by the first Monday in November. City Manager Mike Foremen expects staff to save money from the 2017 budget and determine cuts for 2018 by August 1.

Budget Cuts 2017-18

The following cuts have been proposed in the 2017-18 budget:

Craig Police Department

  • $66,000 from operations and maintenance including reduced spending on nuisance abatement, additional revenue from the school district for one School Resource Officer,
  • $2,000 from capital
  • $110,000 resulting from restructure

Craig Parks & Recreation Department

  • $39,000 from Breeze Street Park renovations
  • $15,000 deferred concrete repairs
  • $1,400 less in portable barricades
  • $3,000 discontinue tree spraying
  • $6,240 to reduce cleaning of city hall to 3 times per week
  • $28,000 to close the Craig Municipal Pool in August and September
  • $10,000 eliminate mosquito spraying

Road & Bridge Department

  • $5,250 Final payment of Traffic Master Plan
  • $30,000 eliminate capitol improvements of allies
  • $60,000 eliminate capitol improvements of drainage
  • $130,000 delay purchase of paver
  • $50,000 delay purchase of used hydro excavator
  • $25,000 delay purchase of Doyan ROW
  • $50,00 defer painting the shop
  • $102,000 savings on purchase of rotary cutter mower, bucket truck, dump trucks, sanders and plows.

Budget Cuts 2018-2019
Additional cuts proposed for future years could include:

Craig Police Department

  • Additional personnel

Parks & Recreation

  • $21,000 Whittle the Wood
  • $3,500 Pre-employment drug tests
  • $2,000 tree spraying
  • $3,000 one less application of fertilizer
  • $10,000 eliminate mosquito spraying
  • $10,000 discontinue flowers
  • $12,480 reduce cleaning of city hall to 3 times per week
  • $28,000 close the Craig Municipal Pool in August and September
  • Discontinue weekend snowplowing to reduce part time staff

Road & Bridge Department

  • Additional deferral of capitol project and equipment expenditures

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