City officials agree on plan to eliminate budget deficit

By Charles Sercombe

City officials found a way to eliminate the city’s budget deficit and guess who’s going to be hit up?

Chances are, it will be you.

The city council recently agreed to a budget plan that largely balances the books on the backs of residents and those who just happen to be driving through town.

Here’s a breakdown on some of the proposed changes in the city’s budget:

The Income Tax Department is being tasked to increase income tax collections by almost $190,000.

Own a rental dwelling? Expect to pay more for inspections. Homeowners will also dish out more for garbage collection. In all, the budget plan expects to see almost $400,000 in rental inspections and garbage fees.

Better watch your driving. The Police Department is expected to bring in an extra $200,000 in traffic enforcement. Truck drivers also need to make sure the load they are hauling is within the legal weight limit because there will be a cop on patrol to weigh trucks.

City officials were under the gun to approve a deficit elimination plan in order to apply for an emergency $3 million loan from the state. By next June or so it was predicted the city would have a $3.5 million budget deficit.

There was even a bigger fear that the city’s cash-on-hand would dry up and result in payless paydays for city employees and city vendors.

Acting City Manager Kyle Tertzag said he expects state officials to approve the plan and issue a loan.

“There’s no red flag I see preventing us from getting that loan,” he said.

The budget plan and the loan will keep the city afloat for about the next two years. By that time, city officials will have to come up with a permanent financial plan to avoid a budget deficit.

So far, the talk has been to reorganize the Fire Department by either combining it with the Police Department or cutting back full-time firefighters to a handful and relying on part-timers.

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