Stillwater News Press

Government

May 22, 2012

Stillwater City Council approves budget

STILLWATER, Okla. — On Monday, Stillwater City Council approved the budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year without fanfare or dissent.

The lack of debate stands in contrast to last year’s budget session when councilors heard heated comments from residents upset over a 25 percent cut to library funding, which was later reduced to a 10 percent drop.

Councilors held a public hearing on next year’s budget and had only one taker. Pat Jaynes told councilors she loved living in Stillwater and would be willing to pay any new tax or funding measure the city considered passing to maintain city services.

“My living here is not free,” she said. “If my city needs more money for the roads, infrastructure, getting water here and maintaining safety, then I’m willing — although I’m on a limited budget — to pay to live here.”

City officials have talked in passing about the potential for a capital improvement plan. That would likely include a bond or sales tax ballot measure to help pay for a growing list of road and water infrastructure needs. Officials said they would likely start looking at that plan after the budget was approved, and Jaynes said she is willing to help pay for city needs.

“Some people will boo and hiss at the very thought of paying (more) tax, but everyone who lives and works here uses water every day, drives on the roads, a speedy fire department and those who keep our citizens safe,” she said.

The budget councilors approved Monday includes modest increases for quality-of-life services, such as parks and recreation and the library after cuts to both last year. Councilors also opted to increase the money spent on neighborhood street repairs to $650,000 from $250,000, which was in an earlier budget draft.

Next year’s budget also includes a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for all city employees. The price of those raises will be $945,000 out of a roughly $92 million budget.

The 2012-2013 budget was passed with a 5-0 vote by councilors.

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