Jamestown  (CSi)  The Jamestown City Council met Wednesday afternoon at City Hall, to continue budgeting for the 2018 calendar year. All Members were present.

At the September 5, 2017 City Council meeting the Council approved the FIRST READING  of an ordinance pertaining to the appropriation of the Revenue and Special Funds for the fiscal year January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018.

After that reading, the budget can be reduced but not increased during subsequent meetings. The budget must be finalized at the October 2, 2017, City Council meeting.

The mill rate will remain the same with a 4 percent increase in all residential property values and a 5 percent increase to commercial property values

An increase in the property tax stems from of the elimination of a state program that reduced property taxes.

The proposed budget includes a 5 percent increase to utility costs for water, sewer and solid waste disposal.

The City Council is looking for about $1 million in spending cuts or revenue increases in its general fund to meet its reserve fund goal of 25 percent at the end of 2018.

The city, county and school district levy property taxes, all facing a decrease in outside revenues.

At Wednesday’s meeting, City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said since the last meeting revisions were made.

He said additional transfers to the General Fund will be made, from the debt service, fund.

He also readjusted to two percent, the cost of living increase for employees, and eliminated new equipment and replacement equipment purchases.  He said the Fire Department and Police Department radio purchases will stay in the budget.

Each department line items in the budget will be reduced to the previous three year average.

The net result is the city will deficit spend $206,000, with a surplus of a 24 percent ending balance in the General Fund projected at $7,416,150.

He said city department heads, employees and the public need to buy into the cuts.

He indicated that there will be about a six percent increase in city property taxes, with the mill levy virtually the same as this year, as the property values have been increased.

The reserve fund goal is 25 percent at the end of 2018.

With Departments…

The Fire Department budget includes $36,500 for the purchase of new radios.  (City Fire Chief Jim Reuther said the department is four people short of volunteers, and some employers are not letting employees leave for a fire call, which has stressed the department with problems in recruitment.  He outlined extensive training required for fire fighters.  He said there needs to be dollars for repairs to trucks to keep them active.)

The Police Department budget includes the cost of $55,000 for new radios.

The Muncipal Court budget will remain the same, Central Valley Health District’s budget is based on the three year average.

Engineering ..the proposed budget is reduced by $25,000 in consulting costs.

Finance and Assessment and Inspection Department budgets remain the same.

Forestry…a $5,000 reduction in tree removal costs.

Civic Center…utilities cost estimated to decrease by $4,400.

City Hall…no changes…

City Administration…no changes…

City staffing under provisions of Marsy’s Law, amounts to $48,315.

Community Service…Mayor Andersen encouraged Municipal Court to implement the $25 fee for those appearing in court, or to establish a contract to hire additional staff.

The council voted to establish a Community Service line item for up to $5,000 at $4 per hour for services under a contract.

Council Member Pam Phillips is opposed to not funding the Jamestown Art Center and City Beautification Committee, which adds to the “quality of life, in Jamestown.”   She suggested the city council members not take a salary to find additional dollars in budget requests in some area.

Council Member Gumke asked where the additional funds would come from under the proposed austere budget.

Administrator Fuchs said the Beautification Committee is an arm of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, and questioned the city’s obligations to organizations, to keep adequate funding to other departments.

$750 was appropriated to the Prairie Rose Garden Club for maintenance.

Approved was no funds earmarked for City Beautification, with Phillips voting opposed.

Approved was the Jamestown Fine Arts Association (Arts Center) line item reduced to zero, with Phillips voting opposed, wanting to keep funding at $10,000.

Street Department dollars will be available under equipment replacement funding.  The contract is eliminated with an outside business to do the street striping, to be performed in house.

Equipment Replacement Fund …

Police Department….$121,000 was budgeted to purchase four new police units.

Street Department…Equipment replacements approved.

Water Department…Approved was purchasing 3.5 ton dump truck, and a half ton pickup truck.

Requested items for the Waste Water Department was delayed for one year.

Sanitation Department…rolloff trucks…approved was purchases.

City Fire Department ….approved was $36,000 for a vehicle to replace the current van.

Other funding expenditures include…the city’s share of Special Assessments, Convention, Promotion Fund, Visitors Capital Construction fund, and Public Building Site Fund.

Water Utility….

….dollars are approved transferring $3.2 million from the replacement and depreciation fund, with $350,000 expended for repainting the University of Jamestown’s water storage tank, owned by the city.

Demolition projects are budgeted for.

Sewer Utility, waste water…a lift station lining at a cost of $100,000, along with other lift station pump replacements, and coating of a wet well, along with work at the master lift station and manhole lining work, along with other building maintenance and upgrade work.

Solid Waste projects…computer equipment, closing landfill cells, rebuild and expand the grass waste disposal site, and baler equipment to be removed.