Stillwater News Press

April 29, 2013

Stillwater city councilors get first look at budget proposals

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater’s economy continues to bounce back from the 2008 recession. The city’s proposed general fund and Stillwater Utility Authority budgets reflect that improvement.

Stillwater city councilors reviewed preliminary general fund and utility authority expenditures for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2014.

More budget work sessions and public hearings will be scheduled before a city budget is adopted.

Stillwater’s revenues declined with the recession. The freefall stopped two years ago and the city’s financial department predicted a 2.6 percent growth this fiscal year, City Manager Dan Galloway said.

“We’ve gone through that freeze and started recovery,” Galloway said

A 4 percent revenue increase is projected for the upcoming fiscal year, he said.

Sales tax revenue is expected to increase. It will be tempered somewhat by lower revenue expectations in the Stillwater Utility Authority. Record-setting heat and drought caused a spike in utility revenues, he said.

“We don’t expect we will have those record-setting conditions driving demand quite as high this year. So, we have been more conservative on our projections,” he added.

Higher revenue and an anticipated $1.5 million carryover means proposed general fund and utility authority expenses, if approved, will be approximately $97 million, up from $92.7 million.

The proposal builds in 3-percent raises for city employees and a $564,319 contigency fund, Parks and Recreations Department Operations Manager Jim Scott said.

Scott is the director of the city’s operations team that developed that budget proposal.

The proposal includes $3.6 million for road maintenance, Scott said. Additional money is also available for police cars, park equipment and roof and window repairs at the Stillwater Public Library.

Transportation Department Manager Jason Peek said the money will be used on mainenance and rehab projects, not new road construction.

Peek said the $3.6 million will be divided with:

• 40 percent for road reconstruction

• 45 percent for rehabilitation projects

• 12 percent for preventive maintenance

• 3 percent for deferred maintenance

“Overall, we are talking 35 to 40 lane miles of pavement that will be touched by this program,” Peek said.

A road project list will be presented to city councilors at their May 20 meeting, Peek said.

“There will be a heavy emphasis on our local neighborhood streets ...,” he said.