Saline City Council met for about 90 minutes Monday night for one last kick at the proposed budget for 2017-18.
Mayor Brian Marl noted the proposed $9.2 million budget, which projects for a $5,874 surplus, looks much different than the budgets that greeted him when he was elected to city council in 2009.
“A balanced budget represents a paradigm shift from the budgets I saw when I was first elected, when we saw budgets that were hundreds of thousands of dollars in the red,” Marl said, thanking city staff for its work on the budget.
Most of the $9.2 million budget is hardwired, leaving council to consider discretionary projects, often in the $10,000 and $20,000 range.
City staff, at council’s instruction, found an extra $10,000 for Saline Main Street. The downtown revitalization organization had asked city council for $40,000. City staff originally asked for $20,000. City council asked staff to find that $10,000. To come up with the money, the city has decided against repairing and reinstalling the ice rink at Henne Field. The rink can be stored for future use.
Here are other highlights in the budget:
- $16,200 for a play structure at Brecon Park
- Construction of a parking lot and path at Salt Springs Park.
- $40,000 for converting street lights to LED.
- $37,000 for a police vehicle.
- $4,690 for speed/radar sign.
- $32,000 for DPW 4-by-4 pickup with a blade.
- $15,800 for other DPW equipment.
- $125,000 for a parking lot a People’s Park (from TIFA funds)
- $15,000 to rehab the park bathrooms and pavilion roof at Mill Pond Park (TIFA)
- $135,000 to improve Parking Lot 4, behind Benny’s (TIFA)
City accountant Joanne McDonough advised council that water and sewer rate increases will be smoothed over the next few years. The city’s first rate study called for increases on residential customers by 4.4 percent next year, 8.4 percent the following year and 2.9 percent in the third year. Rate increases would be even higher for industrial customers.
City council will vote on the budget in June.
City council may use some of this year’s surplus to buy laptops for council members. Currently, city staff prints paper agenda packets and police officers deliver the packets to council member’s homes. Several council members would prefer electronic documents that can be called up on a device during a discussion at the council table.