Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bellevue to start budget hearings

Janet Duffy appointed to council

Express Staff Writer

With a vacant City Council seat recently filled, Bellevue is prepared to begin the annual tussle over spending for city departments.

The city's planned general fund revenue is $1,083,091, down $32,743 from last year.

The council will begin deliberations on the city's budget for the upcoming fiscal year at a special meeting on Thursday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall. Three more public hearings will be held this summer before the budget is finalized in August.

Mayor Chris Koch called for the special meeting last Thursday after swearing in Janet L. Duffy to the council. Duffy has taken the seat vacated by Gene Ramsey, who stepped down after he was appointed to be the county sheriff.

Koch said city staffers should show up at the meeting to make a case for department "wish lists" that have already been sent to City Hall.

"Show up if you want to defend it," Koch said.

The council already knows that city departments will not get everything they want.

Planning Director Craig Eckles said the city would need an additional $101,000 to fulfill all department requests, but that the financial situation has improved since last year.

"A year ago, we were $300,000 to $400,000 short," Eckles said.

Koch said a promising sign was that the city Street Department was already out fixing potholes, as it has for the last few years.

"We are filling potholes, but it doesn't rescue the damaged streets," said Public Works Director George Tanner in an interview.

In other Bellevue news:

( The council welcomed new Marshal Brad Gelskey to the city on Thursday. "Thank you for the opportunity to serve the community," said Gelskey, who is a lifelong resident of the Wood River Valley. "I am not leaving. I have eight years until I retire."

( Council Chair Dave Hattula recommended that the council keep the current formula for emergency dispatch services, saying a new formula proposed by Sun Valley, basing funding obligations on call volume rather than on the number of homes, could triple the costs for Bellevue.

( The Marshal's Office will continue studying the intersection of Muldoon Drive and Ridgeview Drive for ways to reduce risk to pedestrians and bicyclists following a request by Bob Whiting to reinstate a stop sign at the intersection.

( A "vicious dog" complaint was settled by the Marshal's Office at a neighborhood meeting in Chanterelle subdivision.

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