April 23, 1996, 4:00 p.m.
Mayor Lou Colosimo
Roy A. Nikas, Betty P. Wheeler, Steve Bringhurst, Stephen L. Denison,
Joe L. Piccolo
Vernon W. Jones (Adminis. Assistant), Joanne Lessar (City Recorder), Pat Larsen (Finance Director)
Others Present: Bob Potts
1. BUDGET WORKSHOP - FY1996/97
Pat Larsen reviewed the following decisions of the special meeting held April 15, 1996. Delete the requests for an Assistant Engineer, 2 additional Firemen, and 1 1/2 Library Aides. Temporary employees were given an additional $.25/hour for each they have been with the City. Temporary employees who have been with the City more than 5 years were given a cost of living adjustment, and Crossing Guards were increased to the minimum amount. This amounted to $65,400 that were deleted in wages and benefits. An amount of $20,000 was allowed for merit increases, $5,000 for supervisors. Pat stated that if the $20,000 was divided by the number of employees requested for merits, each one would get $714, 25% of which would go for benefits. The amount for each supervisor would be $625, of which 25% would be for benefits. The amount currently out of budget is $477,175.
Pat stated that there are a few possibilities to increase revenues. One is the Franchise tax, which can be increased from 2% to 6%. The UP&L Franchise tax would be a new one. It would be charged on what UP&L is taking in on revenues in east Price. Pat feels that there will be approximately $100,000 left from the fund balance that can be transferred to the new budget year. The property tax for the Library would bring in $150,000. However, an election would need to be held if the decision is made to increase property taxes for the Library. In addition, there is the regular property tax that is not designated specifically to go to the library. This amount can increase to .003 more than what is currently collected. The City was also informed today that UP&L will be charging less for electricity rates, which will go down 5.11% effective Jan 1, 1996. This will save the electric fund approximately $107,000, which could be transferred to the General Fund. Price City rates are now 6% higher than UP&L. The Council is considering increasing electric rates an additional 3% for the new budget year, which will make that figure 9% higher.
Included in the packets is a complete history of each City employee, and what increases they have had. Taking into account the recommendation for salary increases, the amount taken out of Capital expenditures, and the possibilities of new revenue, the budget is still out of balance by $477,000. Mayor Colosimo discussed the possibility of leasing the Central School building to Carbon County for a $1/month when Human Services moves out. Carbon County would like to move the Travel Council, Chamber of Commerce, tourist information center, etc., into this building. The Council agreed with this concept. Pat informed the Council that after the lease money and all expenses are paid on the Central School Building, the City comes out $20,000/year ahead. Pat indicated that if the City turned over the operation of the Central School building to the County, it would eliminate the need for janitors, which amounts to $40,000/year. Closing the wave pool during winter months was also reviewed. Pat determined that the City would save $18,000/year to heat the bubble and $9,700/year in wages, totaling $27,700. This closure would be for approximately 8 1/2 months, but would mean a significant loss in revenue as far as pool passes are concerned. The Council felt this was not a significant savings. However, it will be reviewed at a later time when the bubble is no longer usable, and the wave pool will have to be closed during winter months.
Bob Potts reviewed the need to upgrade computers within the City. The Police Department machines are really old, and all need to be updated. Pat indicated that the budget includes $24,000 for new equipment and $17,600 for software. This summarizes what everybody has requested. The decision was made to delete some computers, printers, network, internet, and transfer some computers between departments. The total amount deleted for computers is $4,600.
Councilmember Nikas stated that per his discussion with Dick Perea, Street Supv., they do not want to see the widening of Hospital Drive delayed until 1998. Therefore, he would like to place the $12,000 for this project back in the budget, and reduce Class "C" Road improvements by that amount. As there are requests for three new $17,000 trucks; one for the cemetery, one for the Water Dept., and one for the Meter Readers, it was recommended to delete the new one for the cemetery and transfer the older one from the Water Treatment Plant to the cemetery. Since the Meter Readers deal with water, it was suggested to purchase their truck out of the Water Dept. funds. Councilmember Bringhurst relayed the message from Cobb Johnson to delete Voice Mail from the PWC in the amount of $7,000. The funds to renovate the break room upstairs in City Hall was deleted. If the Chamber moves out of their offices on the main floor, this space could be used for a break room. It was recommended to try and do as much as possible to improve the parking lot at the baseball complex instead of deleting it entirely. Perhaps $50,000 could be left in the budget to design it and construct curb, gutter, and asphalt, depending on how far the funds go. The conference chairs at the Public Works Complex were deleted.
Pat indicated that at this point, the items deleted reduced the budget by $70,600. The Council agreed to increase Franchise Taxes to 6%, which would add another $119,000 to the budget. The Council was not agreeable to raise property taxes for the Library, and at this point, did not want to increase electrical rates. With the above changes, Pat indicated that the budget is still out of balance $196,000.
The Council discussed at length the requests for merit increases and reclassifications. It was decided to delete the Weed Control/Ordinance Enforcer and merit increases. Pat suggested that if the merit is deleted, that the Council consider increasing the cost of living from 2.7% to 3.1%. The Council agreed to increase the cost of living to 3.1%. The reclassifications were approved, but that the rate of pay for those reclassified either remain at the present level or to the minimum of the grade they are reclassified to, whichever is greater.
After cutting several items and salary increases, the budget still does not balance. It was recommended that crack sealing the streets at $7,000 be deleted from the budget. The Council again reviewed the increase in electrical rates. However, before electric rates are increased, it was recommended to again try to find other ways to reduce the $115,000 that is still out of balance.
Meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.