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Council narrows budget gap with flurry of motions

In an effort to get reach the city’s goal of having $2.4 million in reserves at the end of 2011, the City Council moved about $700,000 closer this week by approving more than two dozen motions for either decreased expenditures or increased revenues.

Mayor Bob Scales said between $500,000 and $600,000 still needs to be reduced from Interim City Manager Brenda Bauer’s proposed 2011-12 budget. The council asked her to come back with a revised proposal that reduces the gap again.

Tuesday's reductions followed the city's cuts of about $765,000 from the proposed budget on Oct. 12.

The city will address the budget again on Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 6-9 p.m. Organizations will make presentations during the first hour, followed by public comment. The council still hopes to approve a final budget by the end of November.

Many of the budget cuts were of the housekeeping variety, including cutting $2,603 from the council‘s budget. But there were several decisions on revenue that may make an impact, including:

• Increasing city business license fees to a flat $65;

• Adjusting the B & O exclusion from $250,000 in 2011 to $150,000 in 2012;

• Increasing commercial parking taxes by 30 percent for an estimated revenue of an additional $90,000;

• Increasing the parking fine to $50;

• Creating a $25 late-payment parking ticket fee;

• Initiating double permit fees for after-the-fact permits;

• A schedule to increase the Comprehensive Plan Amendment filing cost;

Several other motions were either tabled or rejected, including the defeat of a proposal by Barry Peters to adopt a transportation district with a $20 per car fee.

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