Daily Archives: January 21, 2009

City’s unexpected budget drop will lead to “dramatic cuts”

UPDATED: The city is starting the year with about a third less money than it expected, spurring talk of substantial cuts to nearly every part of city government.

“There’s going to be dramatic cuts,” city Finance Director Elray Konkel said. “Nothing’s sacred. Not staff. Not community services.”

The city had predicted late last year that the city would start 2009 with $3.3 million. But the downward spiral of city revenues has only quickened, leaving the city with just $2.1 million to work with at the start of January.

In response, the administration is planning to slash about 15 percent of the operations budget, which funds staff and most city services.

“We’re looking at everything, and changing the way we do business,” Konkel said.

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Does the city administration deserve bonus pay?

Some members of the City Council are questioning a bonus pay program that dolled out over $25,000 to the city’s top managers in 2008, a year of sharply declining revenues and substantial budget cuts.

“When you consider the economic distress in the city, and how it’s affecting the levels of service to the community, I’m disappointed that this bonus is being given,” said council chair Bill Knobloch on Tuesday.

The bonus pay program was established nine years ago to reward the performances of the city’s seven department heads. They can earn a bonus of up to 5 percent of their salary based on a year-end performance evaluation.
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