Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chubbuck Council Discusses Cuts In Special Budget Meeting

Council President England
Councilman Morris
Today the Chubbuck City Council continued its discussion during a Public Meeting on the budget.  City Treasurer and Clerk, Richard Morgan, gave a short overview of what the Council currently is looking at.  The Council asked various questions clarifying the numbers that Morgan was outlining.  Also, the Department Heads gave statements about the budget.  Only Parks Department Head, Bill Guinn gave any ideas on how his department could use less without hurting City services or Citizens.  The other department gave a laundry list of what has already been cut.

Councilman Josh Ellis asked many questions but appeared to believe that the only answer was to either take the published budget to make sure that both the Fire Department could start the process of replacing the aging air packs and funding the street department about $140,000 for repairs although the City believes that they would need an amount between $280k and $300k to make it a viable yearly project.

Councilman B. Marshall was the only Councilman that believes the City has waste that could be cut enough to fund the Street Department Maintenance.  In addition, the Councilman also expressed concern that the allotted money would not be used for street maintenance in the future, even with a line item entry showing a budgeted amount.

Councilman Ellis
Another interesting item was that Councilman England appeared to be in control of the meeting overall instead of Mayor England.  It does add some credence to the rumors that Councilman England may run for Mayor this year.  Speculation is still running fast and wide.  In addition, the Councilman appeared to be positioning himself as the elder statesman, although in fairness, he is also the Council President.  Councilman England stated that he believes there is NO waste whatsoever in the budget.  However, when Councilman Marshall talked about a water pump that the City almost paid twice what it needed to , Councilman England appeared to back slide.  In addition, Councilman England also gave a long speech about how it is the Counsel's job to provide a philosophy for expenditures not oversee the management of departments.

We will be posting the entire meeting within the next 24 hours.  We encourage you to watch to the end because you will not only learn what your City Department Heads are saying but also where the divisions on the Council are.
Councilman Marshall

Councilman Marshall has committed to send a list of the areas he believes have caused waste.  He has stated that the numbers he has compiled amount to more than $300k in funds that could be apportioned to the Street Department.

Although discussion focused on the budget, only expenses were evaluated.  No commentary on how revenue is apportioned occurred.  Although Utilities do need to have all their revenue and expenses separated from the General Fund, Utilities are allowed to post profit after funding their expenses and capital improvement accounts, no discussion was given on weather it would be appropriate to have a slight profit to help fund roads.  The argument can be made to use some of these funds for street maintenance since all the departments need to use the streets to do their responsibilities.

Another area that revenue could be looked at is the City's current development philosophy.  Citizens have made the comment that it makes no sense to continue to build new roads if we cannot maintain what we have.

The Council may actually have another meeting, however it is doubtful.  It appears the next meeting will be on August 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm to ratify the budget.  Please watch the City of Chubbuck website for the upcoming agenda.  We will update when we post the video and any of the supporting documentation we can get from the City as requested through the public record law.