Four budget options have been presented to the City Council along with a request by employees for a 3 percent raise and increased health insurance contributions.
Each of the budgeting scenarios would have a different impact on city services and tax rates. All but one of the proposals received some kind of support from budget committees made up of city residents that have been mulling over city finances since October.The most meager proposal for fiscal 1989, option A, would shrink the 1988 budget to match anticipated decreases in sales and property tax revenues. Services would be cut to match reduced revenues.
Option B would allow the city to continue current spending levels to next year by reducing services and increasing taxes. Option C would maintain current city service levels and would require a larger tax increase than option B. Option D would expand city services and also include the largest proposed tax increase.
Also being considered is whether to drop the city's unique retail license fee, possibly substituting a utility franchise tax of up to 6 percent. Bonding is also being considered to finance a capital improvements plan recommended by the city's master plan, which was approved by the council two weeks ago.
The budget committees reviewing public works and general government operations both recommended cutting services somewhat to keep taxes close to existing levels. The public safety budget committee recommended increasing taxes to maintain service levels, and the economic development committee recommending increasing services and taxes.
There was no support for the option that would cut both spending and services.
The fate of several currently budgeted items, including the Western Stampede and the position for an economic development director on the city staff, is still hanging in the balance.
The council is scheduled to approve a tentative budget May 3.
Regardless of what happens to the budget between now and then, employees are firm in their request for a 3 percent raise.