Holding the line: Grants, capital improvements drive Silverton budget

June 2009 Posted in News

By Dixon Bledsoe

The City of Silverton’s 2009-10 spending plan, proposed by the budget committee and scheduled for review by City Council June 15, will be approximately $33 million. 

“Our new budget, which Council has to review and approve, is definitely a ‘hold-the-line’ one,” said Silverton City Manager Bryan Cosgrove. “We have no new expenses or personnel and are, in fact, leaving one position vacant in the sewer department.”

“We are changing the parking enforcement staffing to having two part-time staff as opposed to one full-timer,”  he added. 

“Parking receipts are down quite a bit, and with December being the month when we have free parking, we need some flexibility in staffing because many of the functions have been picked up by the finance department,” Finance Director Kathleen Zaragoza said. “Delinquent parking tickets are now handled in finance, and it gives us flexibility during the holidays for scheduling. We’re just getting back to the way it use to be.”

There would be cost savings, too, because a full-time position carries a full benefit package, whereas two part-time positions do not. 

The budget committee is composed of seven citizens and seven council members (including the mayor), each with equal vote. Zaragoza attends along with other department heads to provide information about their departments and answer questions that may arise. Department heads also give updates about their goals for the coming budget year. 

“Steve Kay, our community development director, has done a wonderful job getting grants for the city, especially in transportation and perhaps more are coming in parks and recreation,” Cosgrove said. 

“The new budget includes grants that Steve has brought in to replace one of our Silverton Trolley buses with a new one and to purchase a brand new van. These are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and represent some of the stimulus money approved by Congress. We will also use part of the funds for scheduling in the trolley/van system,” Zaragoza said. 

There are $619,000 contingency dollars and $236,000 reserve dollars budgeted from the general fund. For all funds, $3.398 million is going into contingency funding, and $2.257 million will be held in reserve. “We are reserving one full year for pool operations again,” Zaragoza said. 

Overall, the proposed budget represents a 12.3 percent increase from the 2008. 

“This is due to our capital projects, including upgrades to the sewer system and building the Senior Center,” Cosgrove said. Construction on the senior center, is estimated to cost $2 million. Funding is coming from multiple sources, including Community Development Block Grants and a previously awarded grant of $100,000. Construction is slated to begin in July. 

In a time when other entities are facing tumultuous times economically, Silverton’s city budget appears to offer positive news. 

“We have been very conservative in our budget planning and management,” Zaragoza said. “Bryan has done a great job monitoring our personnel-related expenses.” 

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