Detailing the budget
If the devil is in the details, the Dickinson City Commission should be carrying pitchforks for the next month. As the commissioners hammer out the minutiae of the proposed 2008 budget, the changes are getting smaller but no less significant. "I ...
If the devil is in the details, the Dickinson City Commission should be carrying pitchforks for the next month.
As the commissioners hammer out the minutiae of the proposed 2008 budget, the changes are getting smaller but no less significant.
"I also, working with the management staff, made some cuts to the budget in order to come up with a 3 percent increase for employees on the pay scale instead of the 2 (percent) that was proposed," City Administrator Greg Sund said.
During Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting, the city commissioners unanimously approved the first reading of the annual appropriations ordinance.
Mayor Dennis Johnson said other revenues, specifically land sales, oil royalties and court fines, need to be projected at slightly lower increases.
"We were optimistic on all three of them, and the odds of all three of them turning out in our favor maybe seemed a little stretched," Johnson said.
Despite the modest impact on the general fund, Sund also suggested by the final reading the projected sales tax revenue may increase.
Sund said the city sales tax is 19 percent above the sales tax revenue from last year at this time.
During the next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 18, as opposed to its usual Monday meeting, the city commission holds a public hearing on the appropriations ordinance. The final 2008 budget is approved during the following meeting on Oct. 1.
In an unrelated matter, the commissioners unanimously approved the Energy Services Group's proposal to offer energy savings throughout the city.
"We've got a little over a $0.5 million in improvements that will basically self-fund," ESG account executive Mark Bucholz said. "They won't require any capital dollars needed to be invested by the city."
However, because the implementation of the study does address some deferred maintenance issues, the city invested $75,000 upfront, which the commissioners opted to take from the general fund.
With the scope of the project, which totals $728,094, Bucholz said the city is guaranteed an annual savings of $46,666.
Because the city is considering selling the Baker Building and also constructing a new Public Works Building, the projects within those were almost nixed. Skip Rapp, public works manager for water utilities, said, however, it would help address deferred maintenance issues, even if the buildings are sold.
Through the project, the city will see changes in its buildings' ventilation and lighting, as well as energy efficient motors.
"On the back side, what we're doing is commissioning to make sure what we've designed is what has been installed, and really that benefits both of us," Bucholz said.
The city commissioners also discussed the following unrelated matters:
-The commissioners approved Rapp's request to purchase land, which will be used to erect a water tower.
The total cost of the one-third acre of land is $30,000; however, Rapp said by purchasing the land, which is on a hill, the city can save up to $300,000 on construction costs by building a shorter structure.
"When you look at it from the long term and what that's going to be from a construction standpoint, it's a significant savings," Rapp said.
Commissioner Joe Frenzel abstained because his company, Everett Real Estate Inc., is involved in the negotiations.
-After a presentation from Old Red Trail Committee member Glen Clark, the city authorized $500 from the hospitality tax and a letter of support to the committee's project.
While the committee is unable to recruit Dickinson Museum Center Director Danielle Stuckle due to time constraints, she supports the project. Commissioner Carson Steiner said the exposure of being on the city's channel 19 could perhaps help to recruit volunteers.
-The commissioners denied a reclassification request for the senior public works specialist position. The commissioners agreed the work done by some of the specialist employees was a pay raise issue as opposed to a reclassification issue.
The commissioners, however, approved a reclassification for the senior equipment mechanic position, allowing an increase of one grade on the city pay scale.
-The commissioners unanimously approved to fund the law enforcement center generator out of sales tax funds, as it meets the capital improvement requirements.
The LEC board approved the generator request during its last meeting, but because the board reports to governing bodies, those entities need to approve the purchase before it can be installed.
The total cost of the LEC generator is $88,000.