Oroville >> The council faced two options on Tuesday — allow city business to temporarily shut down or accept the staff recommended 2016-2017 budget with a $1 million deficit.
It chose the latter.
Although the final budget was approved, it was more an approval of overall categories. Individual budget items will all come before the council in the future, said City Attorney Scott Huber. The council will continue to have public budget hearings.
The complete budget is available for viewing online at opengov.com and soon, monthly budget progress and more information about each item will be added, as requested by the council.
Several council members at Tuesday’s meeting asked for more information about items they were to approve. Councilor Art Hatley wondered what the $20,000 listed for administration “supplies and services” entailed, and David Pittman requested information about buildings the city owns and could potentially sell.
But at the end of the day, according to its charter, the council was to accept the staff recommended budget at its first meeting in July, and that is what it did. All council members voted in favor of passing the budget except for Councilor Jack Berry, who said he was hesitant because some items came up at the last minute.
Despite a string of city employee layoffs in 2013, the council is still facing a deficit, so it is now asking for the help of community members. Mayor Linda Dahlmeier called out to the audience for advice on where to make cuts.
“This is going to get worse before it gets better,” Dahlmeier said. “It’s nobody’s fault up here; it’s nobody’s fault in the city. We just can’t pay our bills.”
Approving a budget with a deficit is not unprecedented for the city. Finance Director Ruth Wright pointed out that as recent as two years ago the council faced one, but at under $200,000, it seems miniscule in comparison.
The council approved a six-month payment plan with Axion Youth Center. There was some debate as to whether downtown was the right place for the business, which is to be next to a wine bar, but the use permit will be voted on at the next council meeting.
President of the Downtown Business Association Alan Jones said that the business would be receiving opposition on its relocation.
Published: July 5, 2016
Source: Oroville Mercury Register