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Council adopts budget, projects future savings

By: Cheri March
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Colfax City Council members adopted a final operating budget of $1.27 million for 2009-2010 during Wednesday’s meeting. Reduced property tax revenue as well as the initial costs associated with layoffs and other budget cuts made in 2009 resulted in a $32,000 deficit, which could grow to more than $100,000 if the state decides to borrow property tax monies to cover its own $20 billion shortfall. Sales tax and building permits also brought in less money than expected. In total, adjustments added up to an approximately $100,000 decrease in general fund revenue, said city finance director Dau Luc. However, council members said adjustments made this year could more than cover the deficit by next year’s budget. “When you do budget reductions and start laying people off, it costs initially,” Kranz said. “You have to pay off things like vacation time and that ends up costing some money.” Cuts that could pay off include: ? Replacing full-time city manager Joan Phillipe with the part-time Kranz, an annual savings of $56,705 – half of that coming from the general fund ? Eliminating three full-time positions – public works director, building official and maintenance worker – and creating a new position, the community services director, at a savings of $87,000 ? Replacing two old pickup trucks with new vehicles that get better gas mileage and require less repair, savings unknown In all, Kranz said, future budgets could see general fund costs reduced by 14 percent or approximately $183,000, reducing the general fund budget from $1.27 million to $1.11 million. City treasurer Melba Delfino asked the city to keep a close eye on expenditures in coming months. “Just because it’s in budget, doesn’t mean we have to spend it,” she said. “I feel the economy is not going to bounce back tomorrow. It may take several months or a year.” Also on Wednesday evening, council members approved the proposed site plan for a new farmers’ market. Starting June 4, vendors will hold a Friday evening market on the grassy knoll by the Depot Building on Railroad Street. On July 9 the market will move to No. Main Street through Labor Day, returning to the Depot to close out the season.