Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ottawa planning for ‘flat’ budget

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 7/31/2013

It’s not as flat as a western Kansas dirt road, but the City of Ottawa’s 2014 budget comes darn close.

“The [2014] budget is an overall flat budget when compared to the 2013 budget,” Scott Bird, the city’s finance director, said during the Ottawa City Commission’s study session Monday.

It’s not as flat as a western Kansas dirt road, but the City of Ottawa’s 2014 budget comes darn close.

“The [2014] budget is an overall flat budget when compared to the 2013 budget,” Scott Bird, the city’s finance director, said during the Ottawa City Commission’s study session Monday.

After netting out budgeted reserves and transfers from the $49.4 million 2014 budget, the overall difference is less than $50,000 between 2013 and 2014, Bird said. The city’s proposed net expenditures — less reserves and transfers — for 2014 are $34.7 million, compared to $34.65 million last year, or a difference of roughly $50,000.

The gap might be closed even further if Ottawa city commissioners agree to trim a staff-suggested $20,000 from the city’s municipal auditorium budget, which would drop the auditorium fund to $234,449 from the currently proposed $254,449.

Blake Jorgensen, city commissioner, pointed out even with a $20,000 reduction, the auditorium budget still would be ahead of the $202,128 allocated for the auditorium in the revised 2013 budget.

“I would not call this a growth budget,” Bird said. “I would call it a maintenance budget, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

Commissioners planned to continue budget discussions at their study session 4 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.

The commission has scheduled a public budget hearing 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall to give residents a chance to offer comments or concerns about the city’s proposed 2014 budget. The commission is expected to take action on the budget after the hearing.

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