(Gillette, Wyo.) During their regularly scheduled meeting last Tuesday, the city council approved the first of two budget amendments for the fiscal year of 2018, adding an additional $72 million in expenditure authority.
Geno Palazzari, communications manager with the City of Gillette, said the amendment serves as an accounting tool, allowing the city to carry over and track funds for projects from the previous year that have not yet been completed and use those funds this year.
“These projects span multiple years,” Palazzari said. Of the $72 million, approximately $67.5 million had already existed within the city’s budget, an amount that is destined to circulate into projects like the Madison.
Palazzari said that amendments such as this are pretty common, usually happening twice a year with the city finalizing the budget in the spring.
The city is, however, growing their budget a little this year to account for the extension of the city’s boundaries once the annexation of Antelope Valley and Crestview Estates is complete.
Palazzari said that the annexation will provide an increase in the bottom line of city funds. He said, from his understanding, tax revenue should start coming into the city early 2018.
The amendment includes a new request for nearly $5 million to be distributed among several funds such as the general fund and the Optional 1 percent fund. The new funding will also be used for the hiring of new police department personnel, an animal shelter person, a part-time code compliance individual and a streets operator, Palazzari said.
The city’s total budgeted expenses for FY2018 is currently $110, 919, 490.
Palazzari confirmed the city has decreased its budget significantly this year.
“With the downturn in the economy we’re taking less in from taxes,” Palazzari said. “And so we have been cutting back on how much we have been spending.”
Palazzari said the city takes a very close look at its budget to ensure that money is being spent on thing that the public and the council wants the city to spend money on.
Beautification projects are an example of spending that some in the community have voiced as being unnecessary and wasteful. But other members of the community have voiced their support of those same beautification projects and are appreciative of having those projects.
“It’s really a matter of perspective,” Palazzari said. Despite public inquiries into the spending habits of the city during the debates regarding the failed quarter-percent sales tax, Palazzari assured that the city is doing its very best to align its spending habits with the will of the people.
“There has not been a dollar spent here, that we haven’t justified and pointed to either a survey or council request and voted on by the majority of the council,” Palazzari said.