Friday, June 22, 2012

Sun Valley council approves tentative budget items

Public hearing set for August


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley City Council on Tuesday approved tentative budget revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 2012-13 in the amount of $5,359,139.

Councilman Franz Suhadolnik was the lone dissenter.

The current fiscal year's amended budget was adopted at $5,162,014.

"Approving the city's budget is one of the council's most important responsibilities as elected officials," Mayor Dewayne Briscoe said at the start of the meeting.

The tentative budget does not include a 3 percent property tax increase as allowed by state law. The city did not take that 3 percent last year, either.

City officials cautioned, however, that residents might see a rise in taxes due to other taxing entities' approving increases.

The Sun Valley city budget calls for $400,000 in spending on deferred maintenance on fire engines, street equipment and city buildings.

Briscoe said he wants to use a portion of the city's unassigned fund balance to pay for those expenses.

Councilman Bob Youngman suggested, and two of three other council members and the mayor agreed, that an increase for Fly Sun Valley Alliance in the amount of $18,000 be applied to the $20,000 already tentatively agreed to by the council during budget discussions this spring. The $18,000 increase will be taken from the general fund's contingency line item in the fiscal year 2013 tentative budget drafted earlier this month.

Fly Sun Valley had asked for $38,000.

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"I see as critically important to the community the continued air service to the resort area," Youngman said. "It's not an advanced thought process to understand that the airport is critical to the success, vibrancy and general well-being of our community."

Suhadolnik voted against that amendment. He disagreed that Fly Sun Valley was the organization to ensure air access to the valley.

"Of all the organizations that have come to us, I would be least likely to fund Fly Sun Valley Alliance," he said. "I think they're just splashing water until two things are accomplished: either the airport is enlarged or changed or regional jets are allowed."

The solution to the problem, he said, is stable funding of minimum revenue guarantees.

He also said the alliance should be folded into another area entity, such as Sustain Blaine, which would eliminate a level of overhead.

The council discussed increasing LOT taxes to fund minimum revenue guarantees. Youngman said he supported that idea.

"Organizations like this ... are organizations that will succeed only if they have long-term strategic plans and therefore the ability to have a continuous stream of revenue to execute upon their plans," he said.

Youngman has made similar remarks about the funding of the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.

A public hearing, as required by state law, on the city's budget will be held at Tuesday, Aug. 7, at 3 p.m. Virginia Egger, interim executive assistant to the mayor, said in an interview that the mayor and council will take comment on the budget and will either hold two subsequent readings or vote to waive those readings and pass the budget that day.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com

Steps in the budget process

A public hearing on the Sun Valley budget is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7, at 3 p.m. in City Hall. A second reading of the budget ordinance is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16, at 1 p.m. The third reading is set for Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 3 p.m. However, the council has the option to waive the second and third readings and pass the budget Aug. 7.

Take a look

Sun Valley tentative budget details are available on the city's website, www.sunvalley.govoffice.com.




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