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Sunnyside city budget passed with no fuss

The Sunnyside City Council approved the city’s final $31.5 million budget for 2014 last night with no public comment and few last-minute alterations.

The budget includes more than $28 million in revenues, adding to a $9.2 million starting balance. The city’s expenditures are slated to be more than $31.5 million in 2014, with a final balance of nearly $5.7 million left in various funds at the end of 2014. The general fund makes up about $9.4 million of the total budget.

Changes to the budget since the council’s last meeting include a $25,000 transfer from real estate excise tax fund #1 to the parks and recreation fund to pay for the completion of the soccer field near the Law and Justice Center, a change in the funding of parks and recreation and a new fund to monitor fines collected by the city court but owed to the state.

The new budget also includes an increase in the information technology budget to pay for an automated payroll system for the city which is expected to result in long-term savings.

Mayor Jim Restucci also brought up the purchase of new tablets for the city council to replace aging laptops. The move would reduce the amount of paper the city uses and also provide an audit trail for council business conducted via the machines. The council approved adding the devices to the budget.

The final budget is very similar to the city’s 2013 budget. According to City Manager Don Day, the budget is an effort by the city to be fiscally responsible while still providing a high level of service to citizens.

The general fund increased by 4 percent from 2013, primarily due to vehicle replacement and technology updates. Although revenues are up in most areas, water revenues are down and may require a rate increase.

The major construction projects planned by the city are also accounted for in the budget, with nearly $2.9 million in grant funding coming into the city to help cover the costs.

The budget also includes organizational restructuring in several departments, including police, fire and public works. The positions of deputy chief of police and deputy fire chief are being eliminated, however no jobs will be lost.

The budget was adopted by a 6-0 vote. Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger was absent.

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