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Council adopts 2019 budget

Superior's City Council adopted its 2019 budget Tuesday, Sept. 25, during a special session after it was tabled lasted week.

The $29.9 million revenue and spending plan was adopted as amended last week, and a public hearing was scheduled.

"The budget that I proposed had a single amendment to it removing the funding for the salary and benefits of the PR coordinator, and placing that into the contingency fund," Mayor Jim Paine said.

The budget adopted has a contingency of $166,135 and utilizes terminal tax revenue to cut the levy by $37,000 next year.

"As many of you know, we have a very healthy budget from a number of perspectives ... this is only my second budget, but we have a very healthy contingency as far as I am concerned," Paine said. "There are a fair number of things that we're leaving on the table for fair consideration. Over the coming months and year, you'll have the opportunity to place that in things that you feel deserve funding. This conversation's not over, but I feel we have a passable budget that works for the people of Superior."

Councilor Brent Fennessey agreed the budget is healthy, but said he would like that conversation go to the Human Resources Committee to determine the true staffing needs.

Numerous city departments have lost staff through attrition in recent years as a result of financial constraints placed on local governments by the state, including the fire department, which eliminated three positions through attrition last year when grant funding that created them ended in mid-2017.

Replacing those three firefighting positions would cost about $300,000 annually. Raising the levy by that amount would result in the city losing about $350,000 in state funding through the Expenditure Restraint Program, Fire Chief Steve Panger said.

"Now is the time we can take a look at some of the staffing needs we have been pushing off for some time and make some of the department's healthy again," Fennessey said, adding the contingency fund is too big.

Paine said he plans to attend the next HRC meeting to talk about how the city approaches staffing.

A public hearing on the budget is slated for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in Room 201 of the Government Center, 1316 N. 14th St.