The Scottsbluff city council will consider on second reading an ordinance that will provide a stringent balanced budget for 2017-18 due to a continuing slump in local sales tax revenues.
The general fund expenditures are down over 2%, a reflection of adjustments made due to reorganization of staffing and priorities.
City Manager Nathan Johnson says, ” We’ve hired some people, but we’ve also addressed some staffing concerns through attrition. We’ve tried to do more with less. We’ve picked up a lot but there is always a strain on individuals when we are asking them to do four jobs instead of one. ”
Johnson says the 2% local lodging tax approved by the council earlier this year will help in the future. But sales tax revenues are projected to slide even more, 4% in the next fiscal year, due to higher gas prices because of Hurricane Harvey, North Korea fears, and an ag economy that is still trying to recover from low commodity prices.
The budget does include a 3% increase in pay for city employees trying to do more with less.
The council Tuesday evening will also consider approving a proposed land purchase by a Wyoming conservation group.
City Manager Nathan Johnson says North Platte River, LLC has been leasing 48 acres adjacent to the city’s wastewater treatment plant on the east end of town for some time. Johnson says North Platte River, LLC has now made a $42,500 offer to purchase the property, which the city does not have any plans for now or in the distant future.
Johnson says by purchasing the property, the group will have better access to the 48 acres, which is in between two city owned pieces of land. The group works to preserve waterfowl habitat for viewing of birds and other recreational needs.