by nathan oster
The Greybull Town Council is expected to give its proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year a first reading when it meets Monday night at Town Hall.
Council members like what they saw when Administrator/Finance Director Paul Thur presented his first draft to them during a Feb. 28 meeting. The budget normally requires several work sessions prior to the first reading, but that wasn’t the case this year.
Thur said the proposed budget will undergo some changes in the days ahead, based upon the input he received from the council on Feb. 28. Those changes will be outlined during Monday’s discussion, he said.
Some of the high points of the budget, as it now stands:
- While local government funding has been a hot topic in Cheyenne in recent years, the town is actually anticipating an increase in general fund revenues. For the current fiscal year, it budgeted $1.234 million. For FY 2019, it’s projecting $1.299 million.
Thur attributed much of that to sales tax revenue. For FY 2018, the town set $277,140 as its expectation. It’s actually on pace to take in $330,000, which is the amount Thur used for the FY 2019 budget figure.
- The council is proposing some significant changes in its employee compensation packages. Employees will be getting pay raises, but at the same time, they’re going to be asked to pay more of their health insurance costs. Right now, it’s an 86 percent town/14 percent employee split. Thur said the town is trying to better balance that ratio; a 74 percent town/26 percent employee split is proposed.
For FY 2019, the amount paid out in wages is expected to be $842,750, a 4.4 percent increase compared to FY 2108. At the same time, a 4.6 percent savings will be realized by the ratio adjustment on the benefits side. As a result, the amount paid out in benefits would move from $404,000 to $385,500. The net of all these changes would be a 1.4 percent increase in employee compensation, to $1.228 million from $1.211 million.
- Funding for the swimming pool is included in the budget for FY 2019, just as it was for the current fiscal year. This year, the council earmarked $75,000 for the pool construction. For FY 2019, it’s planning to commit another $100,000.
Marvin Hunt, a councilman and member of the pool committee, said “there should be some action” at the site of the new pool by the end of this week. The goal is to dig the hole and pour the concrete this spring, then shift to the bathhouse and mechanical components. The pool will not be done this year, but if everything goes according to plan, it could be by Memorial Day of 2019, according to Hunt.
Because the FY 2019 budget runs through June 30, 2019, the town created line items for revenues and expenditures for one month of operation. It projects $1,000 in pool concession revenues, $3,000 in pool gate revenues and $5,000 in pool season passes.
On the spending side, there is $8,250 budgeted for salaries and wages, $850 for employee benefits, $2,250 for utilities, $1,200 for materials and supplies, and $6,000 for chemicals, for a total of $18,550.
The town has applied for a grant to assist in the funding of the pool construction and if approved, would use that money, in combination with the money it’s committing, money raised by the pool committee through its various fundraisers, volunteer labor and donated materials to finish the pool. The town is expecting to hear whether its grant application is approved by May or June, at the latest, Hunt said.
- The proposed 2019 budget would keep most of the departmental budgets at about the same level as the current fiscal year. The proposed police budget is $556,800, up slightly from $554,250 this fiscal year.
A roughly $13,000 decrease in the streets and alleys budget is proposed.
In parks and recreation, a cut from $134,325 to $108,675 is proposed.
Overall, $1.218 million in general fund spending is proposed, a decrease from the $1.234 million budgeted for FY 2018.
- The council has budgeted $75,000 for the residential project on the bluffs.
- While there was a plan to earmark $100,000 for a street sweeper, the council is instead going to put that money into “fixing up the streets” by chip sealing, said Thur.