Price faces budget cuts
During the next year, Price City will make several budget cuts, as the city has been subjected to a nearly 24 percent sales tax decline from the previous year.
The city has sent a memo to all city departments, requesting that they each cut 6 percent from their budgets. However, only $100,000 has been cut thus far, according to Price accountant, Pat Larsen.
"We're kind of looking at not purchasing equipment. Most of the cuts were big projects that will have to be put on hold," she said.
The sales tax decrease represents a majority of the overall $460,000 that the city needs to take out of the budget. This amount equates to around 5 percent of general funds. However, as far as staff cuts, Larsen indicated that, in the past, the mayor and council have generally decided against such measures and tried to avoid losing personnel. Mayor Joe Piccolo also appeared confident that the city will retain its entire staff, as well as services.
"With the information I have, I don't anticipate cutting any services or staff, not in the first go-around," said the mayor, over the phone. "In the past, we've been able to avoid cutting staff, but it is fairly premature. Making budget adjustments is a complex process and it's not something that can be done in a back room. We need to involve all the departments in an open meeting, which will take time."
Price City has a general fund of around $8.2 million. While the city has anticipated a sales tax decline; the actual decrease was around 11 percent lower than projected, according to Larsen. However, many of the city's bigger projects that are already underway will likely continue, because most of their funding has come in the form outside funding.
"Most of the city's big projects are funded by grants and loans, (and cannot be backed out of), but, as far as cuts, we're looking at things that are not critical, like office supplies," said Larsen.
After the city makes the cuts, it has plans to set a two-year budget path that the city hopes will be enough to avoid future cuts.
"Since I've been here, (the city's) gone through severe budget revisions twice, so it's nothing that new," said Larsen.
As for other city revenues, property taxes have been stable and utilities are normal.
The memo that was sent from the city departments reads: "Due to the state of the economy and the city's revenues received to date, we are asking that you cut 6 percent from your budgets." It asked that changes be submitted by Jan. 26 and those have been turned in and are being reviewed at the present time.
Last year, the budget also had to undergo cuts, with one of the larger examples being capital improvements, whose original budget was $3,572,000, and was later reduced to $1,397,600.
However, capital improvements are typically a more malleable fund and are frequently reassigned.