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City budget talks begin

News editor

City Administrator Larry Paine gave city council a wish list from department heads Tuesday at a preliminary 2016 budget work session, but told them the list was incomplete.

“The last time we met, we talked about you guys sending me a list of things you wanted on the budget,” Paine said. “Unless I missed it, I haven’t gotten any emails saying ‘I’d like to have this considered,’ so at this point whatever you wanted to do there I have not included in this budget.”

Council member Bob Watson was first to respond.

“I know the Scout House improvements, we really need to do that,” he said. “That’s starting to show some wear. Some wood needs replaced, it needs stained again, there are a couple windows cracked, I think.”

Paine said bowing walls in the structure have posed problems for upgrades, such as windows. Log construction contractors have been asked to assess the structure, he said.

“West Grand is not on here, but you can add that for me,” Watson said.

Council member Byron McCarty added B St. and Grand St. gutters to the list.

Council member Shelby Dirks noted there was nothing in the budget for demolition of the former AMPI building.

When one member said the building’s concrete could be crushed for road fill, Watson had an idea for a purchaser.

“We could sell it to the county for roads and make a fortune,” Watson said.

Street overlays, sidewalks, road maintenance equipment, mowers, and a bucket truck for tree trimming were among items department heads asked for, Paine said. That list, along with anything councilors proposed, will have to be cut down to fit within revenue projections.

“What I’ve seen so far is that there aren’t a lot of changes dollar-wise in what we’ve got from one year to the next,” Paine said. “I’m making some adjustments in revenue reflecting less optimism than in the past.

“Before we have our next work session, I have my work cut out for me getting this thing squared away.”

The final 2016 budget will be adopted in August.

Last modified July 8, 2015

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