Council studies “static” 2011-12 city budget

April 6, 2011 —

The Hudson City Council got their first look at the proposed budget for 2011-12 at their meeting on Tuesday evening. City manager Steve Hartsel categorized the budget as “mostly static, not changing much from last year” with the exception of spending around $100,000 for a new dump truck. “We hope to keep things flat in hopes revenues increase,” he told the council.

Hartsel noted that the General Fund fund balance is expceted to be around $80,000 this year, and that there is no intention of using that fund balance to balance the budget.

The city manager said that the city hopes to reduce expenditures wherever possible in the upcoming budget. He noted that over the course of the previous year there have been considerable savings in several city budget line items, including office supplies by 42percent, phone by 50 percent, heating fuel by 31 percent, and wages and benefits by 26 percent.

Hartsel noted the last figure is not quite correct as it reflects the fact that Waste Water Treatment Plant manager Mike Shadbolt, an army reservist, has been military duty for much of the year.Were it not for his absence, there would have been a wages and benefits savings of about seven percent.

In addition, Hartsel hopes to see some revenues increasing, especially in income taxes. A recent estimate is that as many as five hundred city residents, or a total of about 30 percent, have not been paying the city income tax. Hartsel said that there have recently been advertisements taken out to remind people to pay the tax, and if not paid by the first of May, more active collection measures will be undertaken.

The city fiscal year ends on June 30, and preliminary budget work will have to be completed by the end of the month.

Council Priorities:

The council accepted a list of goals and priorities for the coming year as recommended by the Planning Commission.

Among the items recommended by the Planning Commission are:

* Review of city charter and code discrepancies.

* Re-examination and adjust ment of water rates.

* Establish a new city sidewalk program plan.

* Updating the street improvement program.

* Parking lot improvement

* Seeking additional facade grants for downtown.

* Completion of the Jim Findley Trail.

* Seeking grants to replace the fire siren.

* Completing a feasability study on the possible incorporation of properties on the west side of US-127 into the city.

* Improving library funding.

* Seeking “tree city” status.

The council also:

* Approved a request for temporary handicapped parking on Mechanic Street between Market and St. Giles Streets on June 4 and 5 for the Sacred Heart Spring N-2 Summer Festival.

* Reappointed John Enerson to a four year term on the Local Development Finance Authority.

* Authorized putting the recently retired fire truck, Engine 7, out to sale by a bidding process.

* Approved an amendment in the Industrial Park Protective Covenant.

* Approved making a request to have Pleasant Street between Church Street and US-127, and Church Street between Main Street and the south city limits designated as “Major Streets” rather than “Minor Streets”. It is hoped that the change in designation will ease funding applications for these streets, especially for Pleasant Street, which is in bad need of repair.

* Approved a modification to the liquor license request for Rumors Restaurant at 212 W. Main Street.

* Approved a bid of $5,215.64 from Alert Emergency Equipment for fitting out the new police car, which is due to arrive in the next two weeks.