GRANDVIEW - Confronted with a projected $153,000 budget deficit for 2008 and 2009 the Grandview City Council and city department heads met yesterday (Thursday) to discuss possible cuts to city services.
Grandview residents overwhelmingly voted down a private utility tax rate increase from 6 percent to 7.5 percent this past Tuesday. The tax increase would have kept city services the same for 2009 and 2010.
Since voters have said no, city officials now have to cut approximately $75,000 this year and then find another $80,000 to cut in 2009.
Grandview Mayor Norm Childress told the council yesterday's meeting was to give City Administrator Scott Staples some direction on what to cut.
Staples had some ideas already that would free up approximately $30,000.
He said the city's park and recreation department usually fills four summer maintenance positions. Only one has been filled so far and he recommended cutting the other three for now. This move will free up $22,000 for the city in its general fund.
Staples said he thinks this move is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances.
Staples said the city pool could be closed early, on Aug. 7, which would save the city an additional $6,000. A decision on the closing date will be made at a later time so council can look at previous August numbers for the pool.
He also mentioned a summer playground program that he thought could be scaled back to save another $2,000.
Grandview Parks and Recreation Director Mike Carpenter said the program usually attracts between 30 and 50 participants, which requires hiring three additional aides. Carpenter said the number of youth could be limited to 20 and current recreation staff could handle that, eliminating the need for the three aides.
Grandview Councilwoman Pam Horner expressed concern about cutting the playground program in half just to save $2,000.
Gretchen Chronis, deputy director of recreation, recommended hiring one playground aide and then recruiting two high school seniors to volunteer their time as part of their senior project. This would free up $1,000 and still be able to maintain the current playground program.
Also mentioned was cancelling the annual city soapbox derby. This will free up an additional $1,000.
Council will meet in a study sesson Monday, July 14, at 5 p.m. to discuss further cuts. Staples also thought it would be a good idea to start work on the 2009 budget in July.