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Where the Rails Cross the River
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Preparation of the (FY17) budget has been the top priority in recent weeks. This annual exercise requires each department superintendent to plan ahead and manage within projected income. It gives the City Council a good look at projected revenues and anticipated expenses for the upcoming fiscal year which starts May 1.
Preparation of a new budget also gives the Council the ability - in a single glance - to see what it costs to run the City. The uncertainty with the State budget requires extra caution as the City puts together its spending plan. Chillicothe has a history of managing its finances conservatively, doing its best to prioritize spending and staying within budget.
Budget time also brings into sharp focus what it costs to maintain city services. Unfortunately, costs rarely go down. For instance, a big need in the coming months is for a new street sweeper. Keeping the streets clean and the storm sewer grates free of debris is important in overall maintenance. The City’s current street sweeper is more than 15 years old and despite good efforts on the part of Public Works to maintain it, the sweeper is beyond repair. Well-maintained used sweepers are hard to find. Cost of a new street sweeper? Around $200,000!!
The City Council will look at this and similar costs in the coming months and have to prioritize spending needs of the City. The goal is to provide cost-effective city services, manage carefully within anticipated revenue and spend only on projects with the greatest value to the City.