Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Ketchum sets budget for public hearing

Public can comment on $9.65 million plan Monday

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon next week will invite the public to comment on the city?s proposed $9.65 million budget for the 2004-2005 fiscal year.

Simon is scheduled to call to order a public hearing on the budget at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, before the Ketchum City Council.

Ketchum?s revised 2004-2005 budget proposes approximately $7,915,000 in spending through the city?s general fund, which covers all of the city?s expenses except those made by the water and sewer departments?which are managed sepa-rately through self-sustaining ?enterprise? funds.

The city is now proposing to spend approximately $9.65 million through its general, water and sewer funds in the 2004-2005 fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1.

A City Council resolution passed on Aug. 2 established the revised $7,915,000 general-fund figure as the maximum spending amount the city can approve in the 2004-2005 budget. The council?after hearing from the public?will be allowed to make cuts and adjustments but cannot increase the city?s proposed overall expenses.

In the last of a series of meetings to review the draft budget, City Council members on Monday, Aug. 9, were told by City Administrator Ron LeBlanc that the 2004-2005 spending plan now calls for setting aside approximately $1,250,000 in the city?s reserve fund, called a fund balance.

City Council members showed general support for the draft spending plan but did not indicate if they might pursue changes.

?Obviously, this is a lot cleaner process than it was last year,? said Council President Randy Hall. ?I think we?re on track.?

However, council members did indicate that they want the city to start spending on capital improvements, especially in the city center.

Sparked by a recently published Salt Lake City Tribune column that criticized Ketchum for its lack of public restrooms, council members said they want the city to address the issue.

?I think that?s going to be one of our major projects,? said Council-woman Terry Tracy.

LeBlanc said he is trying to build a capital-improvement fund that over time can be supplemented with any excess revenues from the city?s local-option tax.

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