Don’t expect to see any big city initiatives this year. The first draft of the proposed 2009-10 Commerce budget is down almost $10 million from the current budget and has very little capital spending.
The budget, which must undergo scrutiny — and possible changes — by the city council, will be approved in June for a fiscal year that starts July 1.
The city council got its first peek at the $25.6 million spending plan at Monday night’s work session.
“To give you an idea of what’s in it — nothing,” said city manager Clarence Bryant.
Approximately $7 million of the cut represents natural gas not purchased.
“We don’t buy LP’s gas and we don’t buy 40-50 percent of Huber’s gas anymore,” said Bryant, referring to the closure of one wood products plant and cutbacks at the other.
In addition, the cost of natural gas has gone down. That serves to reduce the city budget on both the expense side and the revenue side, but the real winners are natural gas customers who can expect lower bills next winter.
Finance director Steve McKown called the document “a bare-bones budget,” but pointed out that it cuts out no programs and eliminates no jobs. It also provides for no cost-of-living or merit pay raises.
The budget calls for holding the tax rate at 1.5 mills.