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Thu, Sept. 19

PV Town Council votes unanimously for budget

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Town Council voted unanimously Thursday to adopt a final budget for the upcoming fiscal year, a budget Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said was the hardest to prepare in his seven years on the job.

Tarkowski made that observation about the $72.2 million budget for fiscal 2010-2011 because it is continuing cuts in services that began with the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The budget for the current fiscal year exceeds $93.2 million.

He referred to a loss of employees through attrition and the continuing hiring freeze, adding he expects the decline to continue.

Management Services Department employees budgeted 215.7 employees for 2010-2011, down nearly 15.3 percent from 230.9 in the current fiscal year, according to a budget overview from that department. Salaries and benefits will exceed $15.1 million in the new fiscal year, down from $16.8 million in 2009-2010.

Management Services Director Bill Kauppi began the budget discussion with a PowerPoint presentation, and handed out copies of the eight-page overview.

He projected revenues of $57.4 million for 2010-2011, down from $71.1 million for the current fiscal year.

Projected drops in revenue include grant receipts falling from $15.7 million to $11.8 million and sales taxes/franchise fees declining from $13.1 million to $11.9 million.

Projected spending cuts include the general fund dropping from $36.3 million to nearly $24.3 million and enterprise funds - such as money the town collects from water and sewer fees - declining from $28.1 million to $24.3 million. The general fund covers most town operations, and will drop because of the hiring freeze that has been in effect since October 2007, employee furloughs and other savings.

Revenues will drop $14.8 million from the beginning balance this coming Wednesday to the ending balance June 30, 2011, Kauppi said. That figure includes a $9.4 million drop in the enterprise fund.

Councilwoman Lora Lee Nye commented, "In good times you do projections. In bad times you cross your fingers."

Kauppi responded, "I think we are going to be very close to our projections. I don't know if it is good or bad."

He said he expects to have a better idea about state-shared revenues, from sales and income taxes, in December.

Revenues have dropped "precipitously" in the past two years, Tarkowski said.

Councilwoman Patty Lasker referred to Tarkowski adding $5 million to the budget based on expectations that the town will receive federal grant money. She said a lot of people do not understand grants.

Councilwoman Fran Schumacher asked Kauppi how much money in the budget remains unspent.

Kauppi said that in the past the town never spent the entire budget, adding the budget will be tighter in 2010-2011.

The public hearing on the budget drew no comments from the audience.

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