City makes budget cuts to the tune of $180,000The Cloquet City Council unanimously approved more than $180,000 in budget cuts at Tuesday’s regular meeting. The reductions will be used to eliminate the 2010 General Fund budget deficit Cloquet incurred as the result of a reduction from the state in the city’s Market Value Homestead Credit of $170,435.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
The Cloquet City Council unanimously approved more than $180,000 in budget cuts at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
The reductions will be used to eliminate the 2010 General Fund budget deficit Cloquet incurred as the result of a reduction from the state in the city’s Market Value Homestead Credit of $170,435.
The approved recommendations to make up those lost funds include a reduced contract with Cloquet Community Education, hiring fewer seasonal employees and paying those hired lower wages, leaving a part-time aide position at the library unfilled and no longer printing city council meeting minutes in the Pine Journal, among others.
The city is also counting savings in lower prices for fuel, electricity and salt this year. That is an example of a one-time savings because prices for those items are expected to increase, according to Cloquet City Administrator Brian Fritsinger.
“While this mid-year revenue reduction is problematic, a variety of solutions are available to address this one-time aid reduction,” he said.
Cuts in state funding to Cloquet will likely deepen in the years ahead, as the state is still facing a shortfall in the range of $5-8 billion during the next biennium.
“Should the city receive additional aid reductions in 2011, changes in service levels and programs will be required,” he said.
Fritsinger also said in the coming weeks, the city council will need to identify services as essential or non-essential to assist with “tradeoff” decisions between items. They also plan to assess new revenue options, assess how to address unmet/deferred infrastructure and maintenance needs, identify which services could be eliminated, areas where the work and/or service level can be reduced and identify if there are services currently provided by the city that can be contracted out more inexpensively.
“Basically, it’s coming to knowing what people are willing to live without,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”
One option being considered is a zero-based budget process, in which every department function is reviewed and all expenditures must be approved, rather than only increases to an existing budget.
In other council business, Cathy Rikkola was appointed to the Cloquet Library Board of Directors.
A transient merchant license was approved for Gerald Breyer to sell fireworks from June 24 to July 5 at Super One Foods in Cloquet.
An application was approved from the American Legion Veteran’s Celebration to hold the annual July 4 fireworks display along the St. Louis River.
The 2009 city audit results were accepted.
Various business licenses and liquor licenses were renewed, as was a request for the Cloquet Labor Temple Bar and Lounge to fence in an area north of the building to be used for an outdoor seating area.