By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Budget deliberations open in Mac

The budget committee, composed of the city councilors and a like number of lay appointees, will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, in the McMinnville Civic Hall, 200 N.E. Second St.

During the meeting, the committee will open the floor for comments on the proposed budget, as well as proposed uses of the city’s allocation of state revenue-sharing funds.

Copies of the proposed budget are available for inspection at City Hall, 230 N.E. Second St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Copies also will be available for perusal at the meeting.

The $80.7 million budget is up from last year’s $76.3 million budget, and presents a slightly brighter financial position, but the city isn’t relaxing. It is, however, including funding for a 1.8 percent cost of living increase for employees. The proposed tax rate is estimated at $5.71 percent, per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 1.1 percent over the current $5.65 percent.

The city has been cutting every year, and the parks maintenance unit is slated to bear the brunt this year. In response, it will hike some of its user fees and reduce activity during the low-use winter months.

The city is slated to eliminate one of its three remaining planners, cut almost a full FTE in parks maintenance and reduce staffing slightly in the library, without affecting its overall operating hours.

In the police department, the support services division commander is being eliminated, but hours are being added for a pair of records positions and a part-time maintenance position, leaving the department with a total reduction of a little more than one half FTE.

The fire department is receiving an additional half-time position. The city’s subsidy of its ambulance service, $575,000 this year, is slated to go to $600,000.

The city is continuing some capital improvements, notably the upgrading of aging sewer lines and expansion of its sewage treatment plant. It allocated enough to cover a 7 percent increase in medical premiums, but Taylor said the city may not need that much.

It is reducing some of its charitable contributions, cutting its allocation to the popular Kids on the Block afterschool program by $10,000 and to the Downtown Association’s public art program by $1,000. It is also eliminating Saturday hours at the Senior Center.

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