FREMONT – The Fremont City Council discussed the City Budget at their regular meeting Tuesday night.
The bulk of the discussion revolved around a deficit of over one million dollars on the city side of the budget. One of the recommendations to help balance the budget was a five cent increase on the levy. Mayor Scott Getzchman says for as long as he’s been mayor and part of the council, they have never raised the levy.
“Number one, we’ve never raised the levy. We’ve not adjusted the levy. We can’t sustain that, we’re going to have to bite the bullet. And maybe that was wrong. Maybe we should have been raising the levy one or two percent every year, but we’ve not been doing that. And we’re at a point as we’re going to continue to grow, we’re going to need dollars. So we’re looking at a proposed, possible five cent increase in the levy to offset some of these costs.”
It was later recommended by council members Scott Schaller and Susan Jacobus to raise the increase to six cents. Jody Sanders, Director of Finance for the City of Fremont, also presented the proposed expenditure adjustments, which include no new staffing, limited capital overlay, and a $250 thousand reduction in commodities budgets among departments, such as the police and fire departments and the Keene Memorial Library.
There was a lot of concern from the public and council members in regards to budget cuts to the library and the police department. The Director of the library, Tina Walker, says the proposed budget cut could lose the library its accreditation.
“If we have to cut another $50,000 the only cost in our line available to make that cut is books and materials. I’ve already cut twenty, if cut another $50,000 out of the books and materials, we will lose state accreditation,” said Walker. “Not only do we lose it because that number will be reported as a $70,000 loss in one year, we also won’t be able to purchase materials. So our number of books and materials purchased will also show up on the report, and they will fail us for that.”
The second reading of the budget was approved at the meeting, and a final reading could be heard on September 19th at 5 p.m.