City Council hears 2008 budget requests
The 2008 fiscal year budget process began Monday, April 16, when city departments and other groups began asking for their share of the pie.
The civic groups presenting their budgets included: The Arts Council, Historical Museum, CAM 8 and Public Transit.
Also presenting were Economic Development, Mountain Home Fire Department, Parks, Recreation, Cemetery, Sanitation, Library and City Hall.
The Arts Council
The Arts Council has requested the same appropriation as last fiscal year of $5,000 for the 2008 fiscal year.
Rhonda Urquidi, Executive Director of The Arts Council, and President of the Board, Deb Neely, presented the proposed budget.
Urquidi said the board of directors for the Arts Council are "really active" in fund raising.
One of their goals is to become a resource to the community. They have done so thus far by providing programs, such as Arts After 5 and the summer concerts in Carl Miller Park.
The Historical Museum has requested approximately $46,000 for the 2008 fiscal year, which is $19,301 over last year's appropriation.
Josh Newby-Harpole, Museum Director, has asked for $8,493 for outside display improvements at the Museum; $4,566 for technology upgrades; $5,942 for archival supplies and exhibit cases and $300 for a security system. Newby-Harpole would also like for the city to continue last year's appropriation of the Museum's maintenance and repair for $3,000 and funding for the museum director's position (with $10,000 reimbursed back to the city from the Museum).
Newby-Harpole said the Historical Museum benefits Mountain Home by providing free events and free admission the museum from Monday-Friday 10a.m.-4p.m. and Saturday Noon- 4p.m.
"The Museum is currently developing educational programs for youth in Mountain Home and surrounding areas," said Newby-Harpole, and "working with Idaho Heritage Trust on a grant to repair the building."
Two of the specific technologies requested are a new printer because the Museum's number one source of income is publications and a projector to help with the new educational programs in development.
Cam 8, Mountain Home's public access television station, has requested $32,000 for the 2008 fiscal year budget. That is an increase of $14,500 over last year's appropriation of $17,500.
Station Manager, Lori Albright, and President of Board, Ian Richardson, presented a brief history and video production to the council.
Albright said the vision of CAM 8 is that "we want to see CAM 8 grow to be like its mentor in Boise, TVCTV."
They want to prove what CAM 8 is capable of, and they receive money from grants and moderate donations to help with that.
At the beginning of 2006, CAM 8 was on air three nights a week with five programs running. At the beginning of 2007, CAM 8 was on air six nights a week with 12-plus programs running.
The video presentation showed different programs/commercials that CAM 8 airs including: local news, council meetings, Today's Bow Hunter and special events such as the Mountain Home High School graduation ceremony.
Treasure Valley Transit
The Treasure Valley Transit has requested $27,000 for the 2008 fiscal year, an increase of $2,000 over last year's appropriation of $25,000.
Judi Watkins, Chairman of the Board, presented the budget request to the council.
Watkins said, "There is a good response even with a rate increase."
Councilwoman Isaac asked, "What have you done to improve ridership?'
Watkins said most ridership increases or decreases by word of mouth.
Councilwoman Isaac then asked, "Have you made presentations to Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or Lions Club to help increase ridership?"
Watkins said, "No."
Councilwoman Isaac then asked how does Treasure Valley Transit "increase ridership. If not promoting, those are great words of mouth."
Watkins replied, "That's exactly right. We don't want to promote this at all Ms. Isaac. I know you don't like this project."
Councilwoman Isaac said "I believe I hear a little hostility."
That is when Mayor Joe B. McNeal said, "This is a budget hearing and a budget hearing only, no personalities."
Watkins continued, "I wasn't intending on being insulting...", but Mayor McNeal stopped her. After which the hearing for Treasure Valley Transit ended and Watkins left.
Ron Swearingen, Director of Economic Development of Mountain Home, presented the budget to the council of which there were no changes made from 2007 fiscal year.
Swearingen said, "the office has been busy and we don't see a let down."
Mountain Home has made a short list of some companies who have been here and are planning on coming back and the revitalization to downtown should start in the next 12 to 24 months.
He believes businesses will get involved to improve downtown now that the Simco Road bypass is complete.
Councilman Urquidi asked Swearingen, "why the marketing/advertising budget was $5,000, but it all hasn't been used. Can we promote Mountain Home more?'
Swearingen's response was "we are working on that. CGI Company will be "doing a video that will really help promote Mountain Home in a big way."
He also said, "we haven't had to use our own money because other money has been raised.
Fire Chief, Phil Gridley, and Assistant Fire Chief Bud Corbus, presented the Fire Department's budget requests, listing in order of priority what the department feels is the most important:
*$5,000 more than the 2007 fiscal year for equipment replacement. A total of $15,000.
*$7,500 for repairs and maintenance for equipment. That is up $1,000 from the 2007 fiscal year.
*$2,500 more than the 2007 fiscal year for repairs and maintenance to trucks, bringing the request up from $7,000 to $9,500.
*$10,000 for equipment inventory to include five laptops used for pre-fire plans and the software, FirePro, which is graphic intensive and needs a lot of memory.
"When in route to a commercial fire, it will give an idea of fire hydrants, basements and hazards," said Chief Gridley.
*$1,200 for Life Flight membership. The membership insures firefighters and everyone that lives in their households for LifeFlight. "In the past five years, it (Life Flight) has never been used on line of duty, but it could happen and we want to be prepared," said Chief Gridley.
*$1,500 for repair and maintenance to radios, bringing the request up from $4,000 to $5,500.
*An increase from $14,000 to $20,000 for over hire for special projects.
*$500 more for gas and oil, bringing the request up from $7,500 to $8,000.
*$1,000 increase for uniforms, bringing the request up from $2,000 to $3,000.
*$1,000 for supplies. That is up $400 from the 2007 last fiscal year.
*$3,000 for computer maintenance/software. Bringing the request up $1,000 from the 2007 fiscal year.
*$37,500 estimate total cost for new positions.
The Fire Department also presented two important needs that may use impact fees as partial payment to the council as a "heads up".
The first being the need of a washing machine for bunker gear. Bunker gear cost $1,600-$1,700, and fire suppression products deteriorate the gear. But the Fire Department could get more use out of the gear by prolonging its life if they had a washing machine to clean it.
The second need is that of an Opticon System on the following roads: American Legion, 2nd North Street. 3rd North Street and 10th North Street. Chief Gridley said it is not a fire department item, but that pressure needs to be put on the state representatives. The Fire Department is concerned over people and cars getting hit by fire trucks when they are responding to a call. He said, "those trucks can't stop on a dime."
Chief Gridley also told the council "that going through the budget and prioritizing was probably the best the Fire Department has done. It was a terrific idea. The officers felt like they were more of a part of the process."
The following are the budget requests from City Hall for the 2008 fiscal year.
*Decrease repairs and maintenance to buildings by $3,000, bringing the request to $2,000.
*Increase insurance from $75,000 to $78,000.
*Increase computer maintenance/software by $2,000, bringing the request to $6,000.
*Decrease printing/publications by $10,000. Down from $15,000 to $5,000.
*Add a new line to the budget for publications-Planning and Zoning at $10,000.
*Increase audit by $7,000, bringing the request to $35,000.
*Request $100,000 for capital outlays to be used for emergency reserve.
*Decrease equipment inventory by $3,500, bringing the request to $4,500 to include: final desk/office equipment replacement for $3,900 and a speaker phone for council chambers for $600.
Stan Franks presented the following budget requests for Parks to the council for consideration for the 2008 fiscal year:
*Increase utilities $14,000 to $102,000.
*$2,500 that was previously used for radios to now be transfer to telephone lines.
*Capital outlay of $368,000 for the 2008 fiscal year.
The money would be used for four pick-up trucks, one dump truck, one trencher, one tractor, one top dresser, one utility vehicle, one sweeper, one weed mower, one track hoe and one aerator.
Councilman Rist wanted to know why parks needed a new tractor. Franks replied that "the tractor we have now is 2-wheel drive and is used to mow with. A 4-wheel drive tractor would be really handy." Stan said parks needed a new weed mower because they are currently using old ones the base gave them, and they keep having to weld them up.
Included in the budget request was a list of park project requests not funded by park development fees. These projects were listed so the council would be aware of the costs of such projects. Parks on the list include:
*Railroad Park -- sidewalk with picnic table pads for $15,000
*Optimist Park -- pave parking lots $150,000
*Legacy Park -- pave parking lot $150,000; safety lights $15,000; concrete pathways $50,000; six tennis courts $350,000; drainage corner sprinkler system $10,000.
Franks also presented the following budget requests for Recreation to the council for consideration for the 2008 fiscal year.
*Increase in telephone by $1,324, bringing the request to $5,324.
*Increase in utilities by $10,000 to include water charges, bringing the request to $35,000.
*Request $476,000 for capital outlay. That would include:
ญญญ--water slide, pool master plan $250,000.
--(2) 24-passenger buses $90,000.
--(2) 15-passenger vans $60,000.
--(1) 1/2 ton truck $25,000.
--ball field line striper $5,000.
--miscellaneous office equipment $10,000.
--utility vehicle $6,000.
--point-of-sales system $10,000, "a system that works with the current system being used that will allow Recreation to take credit cards. We will also need the equipment to support that office program, for example, credit card machines," said Franks.
--Preschool Playground equipment $20,000.
Councilman Rist said it looked like the" total hit" between Parks and Recreation utilities would be $137,000. Franks said, "yes, a pool takes continuous water plus the bathrooms and showers."
Franks also presented the following budget requests for the cemetery to the council for consideration for the 2008 fiscal year.
*Increase seasonal/hourly position by $8,000, bringing the request to $16,000.
*Request a change from four months work for the seasonal/hourly position to eight months work.
"The need for more seasonal help comes because a lot of graves and headstones are sinking in. It takes a lot of time and with more help, more could get done. The more the cemetery fills up, the more help will be needed," said Franks.
*Increase utilities by $11,000, bringing the request to $12,000.
*Increase repairs and maintenance to buildings and grounds by $5,000, bringing the request to $10,000.
*Request $100,000 for repairs and maintenance to building grounds A.
*Request $315,000 for capital outlay to include:
--back hoe $60,000; continuously used.
--dump truck $75,000; continuously used.
--pave roads $100,000.
--signage to improve convenience $10,000. As of now, to find a person buried in the cemetery, you must find a person out there working to help locate the person you are looking for, Franks said.
Councilwoman Isaac wanted to know where a permanent sign would go, and Franks said one could be posted at the old section of the cemetery and the other could be posted at the new section.
Councilman Rist said, "I think that's [signage] very important. I like your idea of two different signs. I think that's something that's long overdue."
Franks also presented the budget to the council, of which there were no changes made from the 2007 fiscal year.
Luise House, Library Director, and Kelly Everitt, Chairman of the Library Board of Trustees, made the following requests for the Mountain Home Library for the 2008 fiscal year.
*Request $21,816 for a new position, Library Assistant II. "We absolutely need more staff. We are a customer service and costumers are growing," said Everitt.
*Increase the telephone line by $13, 050, bringing the request to $16,450.
*Increase utilities to include water by $2,200, bringing the request to $14,200.
*Request $4,000 for profession fees and Lynx collection agency cost for stolen books.
*Increase computer maintenance and software based on 22 public use lab computers by $2,000, bringing the request to $15,500.
*Increase books, magazines, AV and software by $7,000, bringing the request to $37,000.
*Request for two new expense lines: 1) $2,100 for gas and oil for Lynx book return to Boise valley libraries and, 2) $1,400 for staff uniforms.
*Request $21,300 for capital outlay. This will include, in order of priority:
--Norstar Phone System; $5,300 with completion in 2008. Norstar is a business phone system (equipment portion) with voice mail, headsets, conferencing, etc.
ญ--Build fund to replace foyer doors; $12,000 total. $6,000 per year for two years with the project completion in 2009.
--Build fund to replace HVAC unit; $20,000 total. $10,000 per year for two years project completion in 2009.
* Request $12, 500 for equipment inventory. That will include, in order of priority:
--Sensormatic Security Gates; $,6000 purchases the final unit of exiting system so all exit doors are covered. "The current sets paid for themselves in two years with significant decrease in missing books," said Everitt.
--Five computer lab updates; $4,000 to upgrade computers. Technology plan calls for annual update of no less than three of the 22 public use computers
--Seven SanDisk MP3 players; $1,100 for public use circulation of e-books.
--One public use typewriter; $200 replaces IBM Selectric donated from the School District 20 years ago.
--One laptop for door system; $1,200 recommended as replacement of PDA currently used for meeting room coded door system.
Utility prices for city departments will "sky-rocket" in the 2008 fiscal year because in the past the city of Mountain Home has not been charging itself for water, sewer or sanitation usage, said Leanna Taylor, City Hall Treasurer.
The amount has not been being paid from the water fund, but rather has just been absorbed into the account, said Taylor.
Now the city will be paying water "in a proper manner and hopefully will encourage water conservation," said Taylor. "It is very important for the city to meter its own water usage. It will help with water conservation."