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Council weighs budget

Ironton’s proposed, newly amended 1999 operating budget returns nearly $100,000 to the city’s general fund.

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Ironton’s proposed, newly amended 1999 operating budget returns nearly $100,000 to the city’s general fund.

After the first version of the amended operating budget failed on the council floor last month, city finance director Cindy Anderson and Mayor Bob Cleary returned to the drawing board and made several small adjustments.

"There’s no where else to cut this budget as far as I can see," Cleary told committee members at Monday’s regular meeting. "We’ve been able to put $62,307 back in the budget for the carryover balance, so if there are other areas that are cut, it is certainly at council’s discretion to do so."

Finance committee members, however, first asked Cleary to remove any possibility of a new street sweeper from the budget before lending their unanimous support to the proposed amendments. This last adjustment returned about $38,000 in additional funds to the general fund, Mrs. Anderson said.

"We still have to keep in mind that this still leaves us with less than the amount of the one-time Worker’s Compensation rebate funds as our carryover balance," council and committee member Jim Tordiff said. "It’s not because of any wrong spending, it’s just the economy right now."

A street sweeper is not out of the question in a few months when the city begins planning a budget for the year 2000, Tordiff added.

"We need to keep this year’s budget without the sweeper, and at least see how things are going to look for next year," he said. "If we can put a street sweeper in there for next year without problems, then I will gladly support it at that time."

Other cuts in the 1999 budget include overtime cuts from both the flood and police departments, Cleary said.

"We did not use the overtime during flood season, and we do not anticipate using it next year, either," Cleary said. "And, I met with the police chief and we worked out a way to cut some of the overtime, which was very high some months and seemed to decrease as the year progressed."

No one department should feel too much of a strain from the cuts, he added.

"It’s just a whole lot of minor cuts, but those do add up," Cleary said.

Committee members lent their unanimous support to the budget proposed by Cleary and Mrs. Anderson –  the only alternate plan presented at Monday’s meeting.

"No other council members have contacted the finance director about the budget problems, and I find that a bit upsetting," said Jesse Roberts, committee member and council chairman. "No one seemed to have a problem voting the old budget down, but none supported or presented any other plan for the city’s financial well-being."

Council will hear at least first reading of the ordinance to adopt the amended budget at the regular meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 23 on the third floor of the Ironton City Center.