Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ketchum officials keep eyes on budget

Fund balance used to ?get through a tough year?

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum officials took a look under the hood Monday night to make sure the city's finances are in order.

"We have a budget challenge, and I would not describe it as a budget crisis," said Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc. "The challenge is balancing competing priorities of large projects, and our cash flow will be its lowest when its need is the greatest."

The projected cash flow that has not come is in the form of development impact fees the city charges. A construction moratorium in the downtown, Tourist and Limited Residential-High Density zones produced smaller revenues than anticipated.

"We're eating into the fund balance to get through a tough year, and that's absolutely normal," LeBlanc said. "There will be years in the future when we put money into the fund balance. Those years are ahead of us."

City officials scheduled a public hearing for May 21 to adjust the fiscal year budget.

Of note, however, Councilman Steve Shafran asked LeBlanc why $136,000 was spelled out in a summary of the city's supplemental appropriations.

"Why is (economic consultant Tom Hudson, who resigned) the only variance pulled out?" Shafran asked. "List them all or don't list any. There are certainly a lot of variances in the city budget."

LeBlanc did not answer the question.

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