2011 budget at center of Gardner council meeting

The increase, which would total an additional $6.40 per household per month, would be used to cushion the citys Bond and Interest funds. The council had previously discussed a 2-mill increase in past work sessions.

According to a presentation from City Administrator Stewart Fairburn, the citys 2011 budget is being developed on a number of assumptions of what will or will not occur in the near future, including increases in commercial development, no storm water utility developments, a slow increase in single-family housing and 2012 pay increases for city staff. In addition, the budget is being developed with the assumption that the Moonlight Road project will be the last street project for the foreseeable future, and that no projects will be developed within the Parks and Recreation Department for another 10 years.

Fairburn pointed out that the 4-mill increase is only a worst-case scenario, and that all of the citys Bond and Interest debt has been reinforced.

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Mayor Dave Drovetta spoke briefly about city employees who recently left their positions to take positions with Johnson County or other nearby cities in an effort to illustrate his belief that the city must remain competitive in salaries and benefits in order to keep seasoned, knowledgeable workers on their payroll.

Im seeing something of a disturbing trend here, Drovetta said. This could create a cycle. The more valuable employees leave first, and this is something we should consider seriously as we go forward with our budget.

Fairburn said he agreed, but added the city will need to prioritize staffing levels. He said he would be willing to conduct a survey with the citys departments to determine which positions would indeed be the most valuable to the city in the near future. The council is slated to review Reduction in Force options sometime next month; there are currently three staff positions open that are financed by the citys General Fund.

Drovetta reiterated his belief that as the city cuts positions, citizen satisfaction with the citys services will suffer as well.

The council needs to consider what service levels will be sacrificed, he said. Are we willing to go back on those things that our citizens say make Gardner a good place to live?

Fairburn said it is a question the council will need to consider carefully.

The council has pulled all of the rabbits out of it's hat, and now we face some really tough decisions, he said.

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Posted in Law Post Date 08/26/2015


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