The first 2014 Manhattan city budget and capital improvement program city commission work session on Tuesday night unveiled a few of the battle lines drawn in the sand by the commission.
Manhattan Director of Finance Bernie Hayen presented the first round of information on the city budget, and prefaced it by informing the commission on the growth the city has gone through in recent years.
Manhattan saw a 5.5 percent growth change from 2010 to 2012, and ranked 15th in the nation in a recently released report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Hayen says growth, and infrastructure will have an impact as the commission looks ahead in the long range planning for the city budget.
City streets became a top issue early on, and city manager Ron Fehr warns there will be severe reprecussions in the long run if those items are not resolved soon. Currently 1.2 million dollars has been budgeted for roads, and Fehr says the real number to fix the issue could be as high as double or triple that amount.
The commission as a whole agreed roads are an integral part of the services provided by the city. Commissioners Wynn Butler, and Richard Jankovich charged city staff to find the exact dollar amount needed to make those improvements.
To bridge the gaps in funding in the budget commissioner Wynn Butler says there are still points of efficiency to be found in items such as the city’s travel budget, and other areas to reduce the impact on property owners.
As it stands from Tuesday’s session the proposed 2014 budget is $131,109,341. The figure is $9,305,199 more than the 2013 budget. However, Hayen warned the commission if more cuts are given such as the ones in 2013 there may be a significant degradation in the quality of life within the community.
Other figures from the proposed budget include $21,911,827 taxes levied, and an approximate 2.7 mill levy increase.
Commissioner Rich Jankovich says the commission’s job is to maximize the services provided by the city with the least amount of impact to property taxes.
The Second Budget work session will take place on June 11th.