Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Balanced Budget

Public gets first look before Tuesday meeting

Members of the Minden City Council will present a balanced budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013 at a public hearing Tuesday at 7 p.m.

"This budget is balanced without going to any investment funds," Robertson said. "The last thing we do is pull from the investment funds, and there's every chance we won't have to do that."

Following the hearing, the council will vote on the $32.5 million budget, along with other items during the regular monthly meeting.

That $32.5 million is an increase over the 2011-2012 FY budget of $31.9 million after amendments.

"We feel that when it's all said and done, we will be balanced for this past year without going to our investments funds, also," Robertson said.

City Clerk Michael Fluhr said the majority of the 2011-2012 amendments will deal with grant funds.

"It may be that we would have to go to those funds because of grant funds that did not come in during the fiscal year," Fluhr said. "There is no way to pinpoint exactly the date of when you will get the grant."

In working up the 2012-2013 FY budget, the city faces significant increases in responsibility for employee insurance and retirement, the mayor said.

"Our retirement systems have gone up almost on a yearly basis," Robertson said.

In 2009, police retirement was 9.5 percent. Fluhr said in the upcoming budget, police retirement is 31 percent.

"Firefighters are at 24 percent and municipal employees are 17 percent," he said. "At one time, all of those were under 10 percent."

"Right now, the employees' portions have not changed," Robertson said. "They have been kept at 10 percent. It doesn't go up proportionally. The taxpayer picks up the additional, for all practical purposes."

Fluhr said in 2008, the city's portion for employee insurance was $1.2 million.

"For this coming budget, it's $2.3 million," he said. "So we doubled it in just a time span of four years."

Another difference in the budget is the amount of funds the city collects from investments.

"The return on our investments is extremely low at the moment due to the fact that the interest rates are very low," Fluhr said. "Naturally, that affects what you plan to do. You have to keep a certain reserve to be prepared for emergencies."

"Five years ago, we probably got a million dollars off our investments," Robertson said. "Now, we get around $100,000."

Robertson said the council, working with the city clerk, made "some hard decisions" on cutting some capital improvement projects.

"So much of our experience is employer/employee-related expenses," said the mayor. "We want to avoid cutting employee salaries or reducing the number of employees."

Revenue to fund city projects comes from sales tax revenue, as well as proposed water and electric revenue.

The council meets at Minden City Hall. The public is invited to attend.






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