Friday, August 7, 2009

Ketchum proposes $14 million budget

Budget workshop scheduled for Monday in City Hall


By JON DUVAL
Express Staff Writer

Ketchum City Administrator Gary Marks unveiled the city's proposed budget for fiscal year 2009-2010, which, at $14 million, represents a $600,000 reduction from the budget for the current year.

The city's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

"After cutting general fund spending levels by over $1 million in the current fiscal year in response to recessionary revenue losses, the proposed $14 million for the coming year seeks to maintain current service levels while also making modest gains in essential fund balance reserves," Marks said in a news release Wednesday.

The 2008-2009 general fund budget was set at $9.3 million, but Marks estimates actual expenditures will be $8.3 million at the end of September.

For the coming year, Marks changed the general fund accounting to separate local option taxes and street funds into their own categories, since those funds can only be used for explicit purposes.

Subtracting these two funds, the 2009-2010 budget is proposed to have $5.9 million in general fund expenditures. Including streets and LOT, to give an accurate comparison to the prior budgeting method, the city is estimated to spend $8.9 million.

On the revenue side, Marks estimates the city will bring in $5.9 million in the general fund and $9.2 million with the streets and LOT funds included. This is slightly below the $9.4 million adopted at the beginning of the current fiscal year.

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"Flat is the word of the day," Marks said. "In making the budget, I certainly did not say, 'The good times are back.'"

With an estimated beginning balance of just over $512,000 in carryover funds, Marks projects an end-of-year balance of just under $532,000. This final balance represents 8.9 percent of the operating budget, well within the 5 to 15 percent recommended by the Governmental Finance Officers Association.

"As we move forward through tough and uncertain economic times, it's important that the city protect basic services by maintaining recommended general fund reserves," Marks said. "Preserving the community's essential services is of vital importance."

The proposed budget will be discussed at a City Council work session on Monday, Aug. 10, beginning at noon.

Marks said that he has made significant changes to the format of the budget to make it more accessible and understandable to the public.

"No matter how you slice it, it's still complicated," Marks said of the budget. "But this is much more geared toward the lay person and not the accountant."

Jon Duval: jduval@mtexpress.com




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