The Roundup -

City Faces Budget Challenges

 


With oil revenue no longer a part of the equation for now, City of Sidney officials are facing challenges regarding its next budget.

In 2014, the city received $1.2 million in oil revenue. The following year, the city received a little more than $500,000. Those figures are going down to zero for the next budget cycle.

“It has sunsetted,” Sidney Mayor Rick Norby said of the legislation that brought oil revenue to cities.

Norby said the city can make some cuts for a year or two, but they can’t put off some larger projects for long.

Norby and city clerk Jessica Redfield explained new cuts and a brand new budgeting process is needed in order to create a plan for the next three years.

One decrease in the budget will occur in the police department. Another officer was included in last year’s project, but the position will now not be filled.

But overall city staff decreases are not possible. In fact, one full-time employee and two seasonal employees need to be added to work at the new sewer lagoon.

“I will not cut employees,” Norby said.

One possibility is a gradual tax increase for water, sewer, garbage, street maintenance and street lighting. “Everything is being looked at,” Norby said. “If there’s a way, we want to find a way to not raise taxes. It’s the last thing we need to do.”

Another budget concern is paying the county about $500,000 for the city’s obligation regarding the airport, library, justice center and fire hall. “That’s what our share is,” Norby said. “The county has been great supporters for us.”

The budget needs to be completed 30 days after city officials receive property tax appraisals at the end of June or early July.

“We will get through this. We will,” Norby said.

The mayor is pleased that city employees are understanding that there won’t be any large pay increases. He feels the city council is doing an excellent job considering all options.

“We have great people around here,” Norby said.

 

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