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For the week of July 23 - 29, 2003


Sun Valley reviews
draft budget

Without administrator,
process moving forward

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley City Council members Thursday, July 17, took their first look at a draft budget for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, making an initial determination that that no significant cuts need to be made.

"I think we’re okay," said Mayor David Wilson on Tuesday in assessing the proposed budget. Wilson said the city has taken a "hard look" at its revenues in recent years from local option taxes, helping the city keep revenue projections in line with expenditures.

He said the city will need to control spending, but anticipates that the city will likely pursue an overall budget that is slightly higher than that passed for the current 2002-2003 fiscal year. The increased spending will come in part from a "cost of living" salary increase the city will likely grant to its employees, he said.

The 2002-2003 fiscal year, passed last September, was set at approximately $5.2 million.

The city allocated $5,270,441 for city expenditures from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2003, including $2,939,109 for spending via the city’s General Fund.

A total figure for the 2003-2004 budget was not discussed by the council last week. Council members instead considered specific budget requests from the city’s department heads.

As the city proceeds in hiring a new administrator, the city budget process is being guided by Sherry Nelson, the city finance manager.

Steve Cole, head of the city Street Department, told council members he would like to pursue an "ambitious" schedule next fiscal year. He proposed expenditures of approximately $320,000, not including the costs of capital improvement projects.

The draft city budget includes approximately $1 million for projects to improve Elkhorn Road, Old Dollar Road and Camas Loop Road.

Police Chief Cam Daggett requested approximately $705,000 to run the Sun Valley Police Department. The figure includes salaries for nine police officers.

Council members debated whether to fund eight or nine police officers in the department.

Daggett said the department would provide better service with nine officers on staff. "It’s about coverage, and how to spread these guys out over seven days a week, 24 hours a day," he said.

Councilman Lud Renick initially proposed the city only fund eight officers, but eventually all four council members agreed that nine officers should be funded for the next fiscal year.

In a discussion about the city Planning Department, Wilson said the city will consider funding a full-time assistant planner/planning technician to work with Jack Cloud, community development director. The city’s existing part-time planning technician position, held by Joan Kino, will be eliminated, with Kino leaving to become the city’s new finance manager.

At the meeting, Wilson noted that he has proposed the budget include $50,000 for the city to pay for a rewrite of the Sun Valley Comprehensive Plan.

City officials will hold a public hearing on a revised draft of the budget on Thursday, Aug. 21.



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