City Budget Needs To Be Cut, Can Be Cut

The City Commission started to work on the 2003 Budget Tuesday night. Again this year the vote will be split. Commissioners Mark Taussig and Brad Everett will be looking to cut the Budget (Like they did last year) and Commissioners Bruce Sneed and Roger Reitz will want to increase the Budget (Like they did for six straight year.). It will be Mayor Ed Klimek who will again be in the middle.

Under the old Commission (with Sneed and Reitz) the City Budget ballooned to $59 million and the City Debt ballooned to $66.6 million.

Last year Taussig and Everett wanted to cut the Budget even more but Klimek voted with Sneed and Reitz after the first go-around of cuts.

It will be the same this year. The Budget can be cut, it will be Taussig and Everett asking for cuts. Something has to be done. (See story on page one: "Investor Service Gives Warnings."

The City Manager and Staff have done a very remarkable job of asking for only a 3% increase to $57 million. They must cut more or the City will have problems in selling bonds in the future.

Here is the 2003 - 2008 Capital Improvements Program Executive Summary given to the Commission Tuesday night:

Purpose of Capital Improvements Program

A Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) provides the scheduling of major City improvements over a six-year period and includes large equipment purchases, on-going maintenance of City assets and infrastructure, and new construction. By definition and as used by the City of Manhattan, a CIP has the following characteristics:

1) Includes any equipment purchase, project or improvement with a value of over $5,000 and a "life expectancy" of several years.

2) Allows for limited City resources to be prioritized and spent where the public need is greatest.

3) Ensures that all parties (from appointed boards to the general public) have an opportunity to participate in the process of how major public expenditures will be directed in the future.

Highlights of the 2003 - 2008 Capital Improvements Program

The 2003 - 2008 CIP process began early in January with a public invitation to submit requests for projects important to them. Appointed boards as well as City departments undertook similar initiatives. Typically, the CIP program culminates in July or August when the 2003 proposed purchases and improvements become part of the 2003 City Budget as approved by the City Commission.

The following are several highlights of the 2003 - 2008 Capital Improvements Plan:

The 2003- 2008 CIP attached to this summary encompasses nearly $79 million in both new and planned proposed spending over six years.

Through a series of meetings with City Staff, the City Manager reduced departmental requests by about $1.4 million in General Fund spending alone. Approximately $5 million was reduced by the City Manager in the outlying years of the CIP.

The 2003 -2008 CIP represents about $ 4.7 million more in planned expenditures in than the current CIP - all of which is attributed to two major federal grant programs at the Airport. Comparing the CIP from the current 2002 budget to that proposed in the 2003 budget, capital expenditures are unchanged.

Early analysis suggests that the tax impact of the proposed 2003 -2008 CIP will be about the same as the current program required for this budget year (2002).

Please note that a number of documents follow this executive summary. Included are:

" Program Summary and Pivot Table. Page one summarizes proposed equipment and project amounts by department over the entire CIP. Page two reflects revenue sources for each year. Page three provides a summary of revenue sources by City Department.

" Detailed description for each year of the six-year 2003 - 2008 CIP. Please note that the 2003 CIP is on yellow paper in order to reference it more easily (the remaining years 2004 - 2008 are on white paper).

" A copy of the memorandum related to the 2003 - 2008 CIP from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.