City commission continues to shape 2017 budget

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The Manhattan City Commission met Tuesday for its second 2017 Budget work session.

As is custom during budget season, the proposed mill levy (2.119 this time around) was a main focus during Tuesday’s meeting.

“We could have a zero mill increase if we get rid of the ‘wants’ and focus on the ‘needs’ but nobody’s looking at that,” said Wynn Butler, commissioner.

Butler pointed to the 1.9 million dollars allocated to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau as an example of an inefficient use of tax dollars.

“Everybody says, ‘well we need to give that to CVB so we can get people to come here and spend money so we can get tax dollars’ but the problem is that the tax receipts (sales) are not going up,” said Butler. “So, if you’re putting more money into marketing and you’re not getting a return, that seems to be backwards to me.”

Butler does believe the CVB serves an important purpose, however he thinks the City can manage funding more effectively.

According to the City’s website, the mill levy is mainly increasing in the General Fund and the Fire Equipment and Reserve Fund.

Although not included on Tuesday’s night Agenda, the Commission briefly discussed Courthouse security and its financial impact to next year’s budget.

“The police budget (RCPD) is expecting increases and at the moment, its like 480 (thousand dollars) and we only pay 80 percent of that,” said Karen McCulloh, mayor of Manhattan.

In total, the latest 2017 Budget proposal stands at $147.7 million, an increase of $9.6 over the 2016 Budget.

The Commission will meet for the third 2017 Budget work session on June 28th.

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Eli Anderson

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