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Sunnyside City Council receives first budget update

The Sunnyside City Council last night received its first monthly budget update of the year.

Council asked for the monthly reviews during 2008 because of a tight budget. The update is a way for council to monitor how individual departments are doing in staying on budget.

Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler said 2007 ended on a positive note as 99 percent of all anticipated revenue was received during the year and each department stayed on budget.

City Finance Director Jordan Arreola also took the opportunity to answer budget-related questions previously asked by Councilwoman Theresa Hancock.

In regards to concerns that the police department was running over on its budget, Arreola said 8.4 percent of the police budget was spent in January when 8.3 percent of the budget was appropriated for the month. "They're right on target," Arreola said.

Arreola also said the streets and recreation budgets are running well ahead of last year. In January 2007 the city had to take $187,000 out of the general fund to subsidize the street and recreation funds. In January 2008, Arreola said no funds were needed to beef up the two accounts.

Arreola also told council members they will see changes in how Pacific Power appropriates money to the city for its share of tax receipts, going from a quarterly to a monthly basis.

The city books were also impacted, at least on paper, early this year when two settlements required the city to pay out more than $60,000.

One involved more than $50,000 the city still owed on construction of the community center and the other the return of just over $9,000 to the family of a man murdered in 2002. Police said the man had been involved in illegal drug activity and some of his assets were seized, including the $9,000 or so in his pants pockets at the time his body was found.

Both payments will require budget amendments, but won't directly affect city coffers as the community center funds will be paid out of a grant following state approval and the money to the family is the same amount confiscated initially from his pants pockets.

Following last night's update, council will receive budget updates during the second regular meeting of each month.

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