City Manager David Corliss will be looking at several parts of the city's $58 million general fund budget to find about $1 million worth of cuts.
No decisions on whether or how to cut the budget have been made, but already several key budget issues for 2007 and 2008 have emerged. Here's a look at some:
¢ Corliss has told commissioners that he's reviewing whether open positions in the city need to be filled immediately or could wait until 2008. The city is advertising for about 40 positions - ranging from summer laborers with the Parks and Recreation Department to two assistant utility director positions and an assistant director for the Finance Department.
¢ Corliss said tough decisions need to be made regarding the city's public transit service. He said the city for the past several years has been able to reduce the property tax rate used to support the transit service because it has used fund balance money. The department's fund balance money now is almost depleted.
Without new funding, Corliss said the city bus system won't be able to operate at current levels in 2008. The transit service has proposed a 50-cent increase in fares for the T and a $1 increase for paratransit fares. Those increases would raise about $150,000 - even assuming a 20 percent decrease in ridership - according to transit department estimates. It's uncertain, though, whether the additional fare money would be enough to allow the city to maintain the current level of service without a tax increase.
¢ Commissioner Mike Amyx is suggesting that the city halt talk of a new library and the PLAY project, which is an idea for a new recreation complex. That wouldn't save the city any money this year, but it would remove two big ticket items from consideration in 2008.
"Those are both very good programs, excellent programs," Amyx said. "But with the strain we have on businesses and families right now, this may not be the time to proceed with those big items."
The two projects are part of a 1-cent sales tax proposal that has been floated by Mayor Sue Hack. Hack said she recognized the projects could be challenging, but said she wanted the commission to discuss the sales tax issue during the its June goal-setting session.