Balanced budget ready for approval

Posted 10/6/09

It took 10 hours of discussion spread over two days for the Englewood City Council to finalize the changes and adjustments to the revised 2010 …

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Balanced budget ready for approval


It took 10 hours of discussion spread over two days for the Englewood City Council to finalize the changes and adjustments to the revised 2010 budget.

The final document presents a balanced budget with revenues estimated at about $40.3 million and spending estimated at $4.6 million. About $300,000 will be used from the city’s reserves to balance the budget. That leaves the city with reserves of about $8.3 million.

The process didn’t come easy because members of the council insisted on restoring funding from many programs popular with city residents, like the summer concert series, the Rec Zone program for teens and the summer drama program.

But that added to the gap between revenues and spending either by cutting spending or by transferring money from other funds.

It took some lengthy debate and discussion but eventually the cuts and transfers were made to balance the budget.

Council members also agreed on budget changes that erased the need to draw several hundred thousands of dollars, called bridge funds, from the Long Term Asset Reserves to balance the budget. They did, however, agree to earmarking $298,000 from that fund to be the matching funds for a federal grant that will be used to hire three police officers, the first step to restoring the city’s impact team. Residents have urged restoration of the highly-visible impact team since it was cut several years ago because of a lack of funds.

The proposed budget, including all the changes, will be presented to for approval on first reading as part of the Oct. 5 city council meeting. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 in the council chambers on the second floor of the Englewood Civic Center, 1000 Englewood Parkway.

Provided the proposed budget is adopted without major changes, it will come back to the council for second and final reading as part of the Oct. 17 meeting.

Englewood, like most other governmental agencies, faced difficulties due in a large part to the downturn in the economy. The downturn hit the city hard because Englewood depends on sales taxes for more than half its annual revenue.

The tough economy saw people losing their jobs and some taking pay cuts so they spent less money in local stores. The domino impact was a decline in sales tax each month since the first of the year.

The city moved to prevent a possible financial crisis by making spending cuts early in the year. Based on the history, the forecast was the economy would, at best, be flat so city staff has been working to devise a workable plan to reduce spending with the least possible impact on services.

The first portion of the discussion took place at the Sept. 26 workshop. Each department director explained the gist of that portion of the budget, including three levels of possible cuts.

The city also got the cooperation of the members of the three unions representing city employees, as they agreed to a wage freeze for 2010.

The discussion was continued until the Sept. 28 study session. The final balanced budget was achieved by approving the vast majority of priority one cuts and a number of priority two cuts. Also, the city drew on transfer of money from the ServiCenter Fund and the Risk Management fund totalling about 650,000. There also was a transfer of about $150,000 from the public improvement plan’s money set aside for street and road repairs. The council also transferred the remaining $197,500 from the land band fund. All transferes were to the general fund, the money used for day-to-day city operations.


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