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The Rundown – Commission considers options for 2019 budget

Post Date:06/28/2018 1:56 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. June 26, 2018, Newton City Commission meeting

At a work session before Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission discussed options for the 2019 budget.

The proposed budget includes the addition of a police lieutenant position, a drug detective position, and a part-time inspector/tech in the Engineering Division. It also includes a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for City employees, which has been cut the past two years, and an increase in reserve funds for equipment replacement.

The budget leaves the General Fund, which includes most essential functions other than utilities, about $734,000 short, but the City should be able to absorb that amount by drawing down its reserves. The bigger challenge for 2019 is the Bond and Interest Fund, which is projected to have a $407,000 shortfall, the equivalent of 3.311 mills.

External agencies have also made $95,000 in requests, including Grand Central senior center, requesting $25,000; Health Ministries, requesting $40,000; and Newton Area Chamber of Commerce, requesting $30,000.

In total, the additional positions, external agency requests, and the Bond and Interest requirements leave a shortfall of $718,208, the equivalent of 5.841 mills. To cover it, the Commission could choose not to fund some requests, to raise the mill levy, to increase transfers from utility funds or sales tax collections to the General Fund, or some combination.

Commissioners expressed a reluctance to increase the mill levy for the third year in a row but acknowledged the need for more revenue, as City departments are already running very lean. At the next work session on July 10, staff will present some potential scenarios for Commissioners to consider.

Community recognition

The City Commission honored the City’s HR director, Deb Perbeck, who was named one of the Wichita Business Journal’s 2018 HR Professionals Award recipients. She has been with the City since 2011 and is known for her passion for the success of the organization and of each individual employee.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Heard an update on the Best of Newton Photo Contest, which in 2019 will include a new category featuring the Newton sites included in the Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers.
  2. Approved a special event request to waive fees for Dumpsters for the Mexican-American Fast Pitch Tournament July 6-8.
  3. Appointed Rosa Barrera to the Community Corrections Advisory Board.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or emcdaniel@newtonkansas.com.

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