Council considers annual budgetWith two vastly different budget years ahead, the Superior City Council considers changing the way it does its budget.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
With two vastly different budget years ahead, the Superior City Council considers changing the way it does its budget.
Instead of adopting a two-year budget, the council considers going back to an annual budget when it meets tonight.
“Initially, we thought it would be more efficient to adopt two years at one time,” said Superior Finance Director Jean Vito. However, the two-year budget cycle hasn’t created the efficiencies city officials had hoped, she said.
Each year since the council implemented the two-year cycle, big changes that occurred from one year to the next have prompted city staff and councilors to revise the budget annually despite having a two-year plan. Under state law, the council also has been required to hold an annual public hearing to discuss the budget.
“That second year of the budget comes around and every year, we’ve had changes come up that we need to make revisions to the budget,” Vito said.
Facing that, the council considers going back to an annual budget process.
“The two years are so financially different,” Vito said of budget projections for 2014 and 2015. “We will be bringing forward a balanced budget for the council to consider on Aug. 20, but if we had to include 2015, we would be looking at a $1.3 million deficit ... we’re simply not ready to be making the decisions for 2015 at this point in time.”
Vito said the deficit projected for 2015 is the cumulative effect of the tax levy limits the state has imposed since 2006. Over the years, she said the departments have cut a little bit here and there — staffing has been reduced about 10 percent — and looking ahead it’s not known where further cuts can be made.
The city’s tax levy since 2008 has been relatively flat. Without inflationary increases over the years, Vito said the budget projected for 2014 is only about $596,000 more than the 2008 budget.
Normal inflation — if it had been allowed over the years — would have increased the city budget by about $2 million in the same period, she said.
The council considers changing its ordinance to go back to a one-year budget cycle at 6:30 p.m. in Room 201 of the Government Center.
The two-year budget cycle was adopted in 2005 and implemented with the adoption of the 2006-2007 budget.