By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Council Votes to Amend Budget


September 4, 2019

The Sidney City Council made amendments to the proposed 2019-2020 budget, delaying approval of the budget.

The City Council met Aug. 27 with an agenda including a budget hearing. City Manager Ed Sadler explained that if council members chose to amend the proposed budget, the budget could not be approved until it is published again.

The proposed 2019-2020 budget, before amendments, includes $28,203,960 for disbursements and transfers, $24,312,220.24 for Necessary Cash Reserve for total resources available at $52,516,180.94. In comparison, the City had $25,061,129 in Actual Disbursements and Transfers for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, and $27,790,062 for the Actual/Estimated Disbursements and Transfers for 2018-2019.

The City is currently operating with a General Fund of almost $6.5 million. The General Fund includes the budgets for the Swimming Pool, Community/Economic Development, Inspection, Cemetery, Public Transportation, Fire, Library, Golf, Parks, General Administration, Police and Special Projects.

Non-General Fund line items total $19,729,436. Non-General Fund departments include Special Funds Expenses, LB840 Economic Development Plan, Sewer/Wastewater Treatment Plant, Solid Waste, Water, Streets and Electric. With the City’s Debt Servicing Funds budgeted at $2,073,943, the City’s total expenses budgeted for this year are $28,297,332. Of the 2018-2019 budget, 36 percent goes to the Electric department, followed by the General Fund.

Revenue for the 2018-2019 year is projected at $27,609,772. The Electric department is budgeted to collect the most revenue at a little more than $9.7 million, followed by Streets at almost $3.3 million, Water at almost $2.4 million, Solid Waste at just under $2.4 million, LB840 Economic Development Plan collecting $365,000 and Special Funds Revenue at $10,000.

According to Sadler, the valuation has decreased each of the last three years. However, for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the valuation did not decrease as much as first anticipated. The city council addressed an 11 percent loss in valuation, from $461,171,073 in 2018 to $409,136,261 in 2019

For the 2018-2019 budget, the council decided to keep the mill levy at the same value, decreasing the tax burden on property owners. Discussion this year centered on what will be the impact of continued loss of revenue. Discussions included payment of landfill equipment purchases without increasing user fees, training for city staff, maintenance of parks and walkways in a presentable manner and funding for the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce. Sadler said the City had been contributing $20,000 to the Chamber. Then it was increased to $30,000. Last year, the Chamber sustained a 10 percent cut, as did many City supported programs. Councilman Brad Sherman moved to return the City’s support to $27,000, passing by a 3-2 vote with councilman Bob Olsen and vice-mayor Joe Arterburn voting against it.

Chamber Director and CEO Hope Feeney spoke before the council, offering to meet in a work session to fine-tune the agreement with the City.

The proposed budget also includes funding for the airport. The Airport Authority submitted a budget request of $169,350.44. The Authority requested $165,441.89 for Fiscal Year 2019, which was reduced to $143,398.06. The Airport Authority’s request is a 16 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2019, Finance Director David Scott. Scott recommended the Airport Authority budget be reduced to $128,224.53.

“That would keep their levy request the same as last fiscal year,” Scott said in his memo to Sadler.


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