City opens public comment period on budget

Blackfoot city leaders hashed out the first draft of the city's proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year at Tuesday night's city council meeting. Blackfoot Mayor Paul Loomis announced that the public comment period on the budget is "officially open" and will conclude with a public hearing on Aug. 19 at Blackfoot City Hall.
While is has been reported that the city is bracing for a $1.4 million shortfall, Loomis emphasized that "shortfall" is not the correct term. "We have funds. We have the money in our carryover fund. It's basically money that we have in savings," he explained. "We will have to use some of that [carryover] money for scheduled projects and purchases because the money is not [otherwise] there."
Loomis cited the purchase of a new ambulance, sanitation truck and police car rotation as some of the things that the carryover money will be used for. It is estimated that around $1.1 million in the carryover funds will need to be spent.
Loomis explained that the budget is based on assumptions such as assessed property value decreases (due to new tax laws); a 17 percent increase in power/utiltiy fees, medical insurance increases of 19 percent and a general merit increase.
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