The city of Clintonville could be facing $47,000 in budget cuts in this year’s budget.
At its meeting, Tuesday, March 3, the Finance Committee for the city of Clintonville recommended the city cut $47,000 from this year’s budget. When the 2015 budget was passed last year, a stipulation was included that the city seek ways to cut the budget by the end of March.
Interim City Administrator Chuck Kell told the committee that he has been working with city department heads regarding cuts to the budget. He said he asked department heads to make cuts under three scenarios.
In the first scenario, Kell asked department heads make cuts to total $176,000. That is the total amount of the shortfall in the budget, and the amount that would be required to come from the undesignated fund balance.
In the second scenario, Kell asked department heads to make cuts to total $47,000. That total represents one-time budget hits to this year’s budget.
In the third scenario, Kell asked department heads to make cuts equaling $47,000 for each department.
In a memo prepared by Kell for the Finance Committee and the Clintonville City Council, Kell stated the cuts were not accomplished in the first and third scenarios.
Kell stated in the memo that the public works, general government, and parks and recreation departments each achieved the required cuts under the first scenario. He added that the cuts would make things difficult for the city.
“The cuts to General Government were especially difficult and problematic because in the case of General Government this could only be accomplished by cutting the City Clerk’s Administrative Assistant position to 22.5 hours per week which also provides support to the Mayor’s Office. Based on my experience and observations working in City Hall over the past 4 months and issues that have surfaced since the Administrative Assistant position became vacant, I do not believe that the City Clerk’s Office and the other City functions this position supports can function adequately with this position being less than full-time status,” Kell stated in the memo.
During the committee meeting, Clintonville Clerk/Treasurer Peggy Johnson said she thought the city might have an employee retention problem if the administrative assistant position isn’t filled.
“There have been some promises made to other department heads during the hiring process that that position (city clerk’s administrative assistant) was going to support their operations, and now it’s not there,” Kell said at the committee meeting. .. We have department heads upset. We have clerical staff upset. We need to address that.”
He added that the parks and recreation department would be required to reduce overtime under this scenario. He stated that would be difficult considering the city is assuming it will take over the management and operation of Graceland Cemetery this year.
Under this scenario, the Clintonville Fire Department would require a 10 hour reduction in annual training for each firefighter, Kell said in the memo.
“I am very concerned about [that] from the standpoint of not only public safety but the personal safety of the firefighters,” Kell said in the memo.
Kell said the police department failed to provide the required cuts under this scenario, as it would require the loss of its part-time staff. This would include the crossing guards, dispatch staff, and part-time officers.
In the memo, Kell said public works, general government and parks and recreation each achieved the required cuts. He added that the cuts would require the city clerk’s administrative assistant position to be eliminated. It would also require the parks and recreation department to close the municipal pool this year.
“Which means that this facility would probably be closed permanently based on the condition of the facility,” Kell said in the memo.
Both the police and fire department indicated this scenario was unrealistic.
Kell recommended to the committee that it accept the second scenario, which included a total of $47,000 be cut from the budget. The same percentage would be cut from each of the five city departments to total $47,000.
Kell stated in the memo that part of this reduction was made possible because of additional revenue from the public works department for a new crop lease and logging revenue at the airport.
“I have reviewed all of these proposals and I believe the cuts and new revenue projections that have been presented are all reasonable,” Kell said in the memo.
He did acknowledge that the fire department would have to make addition cuts to make up for an amount it suggested in reduced rent. Reducing the rent for the fire department is not possible.
In his recommendation in the memo, Kell said the city shouldn’t amend the 2015 adopted budget because that would have an adverse affect on the city under the state’s expenditure restraint limits.
“Instead, each Department Head will be directed to accomplish these expenditure reductions during the course of the year which will reduce the need to use $47,000 of the City’s $176,000 Fund Balance that was allocated for use in the City’s 2015 budget. This will need to be closely monitored by the Department Heads and the City Administrator,” Kell said in the memo.
At the Finance Committee meeting, Kell said if the committee and ultimately the council required more cuts to the budget, it would have to look at closing the municipal pool and or the Rec. Center.
A discussion followed about the pros and cons of closing each of those facilities, as well as what it would take to close them.
Only three members of the Finance Committee were present at the meeting. Committee Chairman Mark Doornink recommended the second scenario, but expressed concern about only three members voting on the motion. Committee members Phil Rath and John Wilson were also present. All three voted in favor of cutting $47,000 from the budget under the second scenario.
The item was to go before the entire council at its regular meeting, Tuesday, March 10. That meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum. As of press time, the city was still trying to reschedule to council meeting.