McLaughlin said there were potential cuts in each department.
the clerk's office, there is a request for a wage increase for the
deputy clerk, the addition of a part-time human resource clerk and a
request for the new sewer department software that has been
In building and zoning, there is a request to hire part-time,
temporary help for the summer for some specific tasks that need to
be done. There is a potential to reduce the amount designated for
In the police department, there is a request for a 5 percent
increase in the wages of the chief and deputy chief, and a potential
to cut police training costs.
In the fire department, there is a potential to cut some of the
equipment costs for the new fiscal year.
There could be cuts in the city administrator position, and she
said everyone was wondering what was going on with the $8,000 garage
door for the street department.
McLaughlin was asked if all these things are currently in the
budget, and she said they were. She was asked if with all this, the
city budget was in the red, and she verified that it was.
Melody Anderson first questioned the HR position in the clerk's
budget. She asked if that was actually in the budget, and McLaughlin
confirmed that it was. Anderson asked how much of it was designated
as HR. McLaughlin said it was $15,000.
O'Donohue wondered if this was one item that needed to be put on
hold pending a decision about the city administrator. He said he
thought HR could be a duty for the city administrator if the city
decides to keep the administrator.
He also said he'd jump in and say he was pro-administrator and
wanted to keep that position. Anderson said if that were a motion,
she would second it, and Neitzel agreed.
The question came up as to what the HR position would entail.
City Clerk Susan Gehlbach said it was primarily work involving
claims -- whether workers' comp, health or something else -- and it
takes up a tremendous amount of time in the clerk's office.
O'Donohue said there was a difference between HR and clerical,
and he thought much of what was being talked about wasn't HR, but
Comments were also made that the administrator didn't need to be
doing clerical work, and McLaughlin said there was also a matter of
her having time to do it. She speculated that if turned over to her
office, it would be a duty of the secretary.
Snyder explained that currently, the city administrator has two
part-time secretaries. Both would have to be trained in the handling
of these claims. McLaughlin also added that if the council doesn't
want the added person, she and Gehlbach will figure it all out.
Gehlbach said there were a lot of changes going on in the clerk's
office this year, and they have a huge workload right now. David
Wilmert then confirmed that the big issue is the overall workload in
the office and that Gehlbach was saying she needed more help.
Gehlbach confirmed that.
Anderson said she heard what Gehlbach was saying, but most of
what is being talked about is implementation of one-time events. She
said she couldn't justify hiring new help for one-time events. She
concluded by saying none of those things needed to be done by an HR
person. She said she wanted to eliminate the HR position from the
budget, let some of these issues settle down, and see how it works
The next issue was a 7 percent increase for the deputy city
clerk, Joy Fulk. O'Donohue said he was opposed to a raise of that
size. Neitzel asked why it was being requested.
Gehlbach said first that Fulk is a workhorse and accomplishes a
great deal. She is a multitasker and hard worker. In addition,
Gehlbach said Fulk is being paid significantly less than other
department heads, and this increase would bring her more in line
with the others.
Snyder commented that Fulk was not a department head. Anderson
echoed that but added that the city has a consistent gap between
union labor, department heads and deputies. She said that with union
raises, the gap continues to narrow. "If you keep narrowing and
narrowing that, you're not going to get department heads and
deputies," she said.
Anderson said that in looking at cuts, that was one request she
was not inclined to cut. Bruce Carmitchel agreed that the salary for
the deputy clerk should be more equitable. He added that after all
the discussion that has gone on about the new software, it should
not be cut either.
[to top of second column]
Snyder said the software was a $10,000 initial contract and a
$6,000 contract per year for the next three years. He said the city
has had talks about going to billing by consumption. He said if they
did that, the city could also discuss going to monthly billing.
Right now, the clerk's staff cannot handle that workload. However,
the city has talked in the past about farming out that duty to the
water company. He said if the city goes forward with the expense of
the software, that might eliminate the city looking at other
Anderson said leaving it in the budget doesn't necessarily
necessitate not exploring the outsourcing option. She said she felt
she wanted to leave the software in the budget. She noted that when
the city had looked at outsourcing in the past, the costs involved
added up pretty quickly, but they could still look at it again.
With the meeting surpassing the two-hour mark, McLaughlin told
the council they were probably within $30,000 of having a balanced
budget. She said if the council wished, she could take a look at
some of the remaining items, cut a few thousand here and there, and
balance the budget. Everyone seemed to agree that was a good idea.
Wrapping it up, O'Donohue said he wanted to qualify that he had
nothing against the clerk's staff in being opposed to the raise for
Fulk. He said he was also opposed to the 5 percent increases for
Additionally, O'Donohue wanted to know where the budget was on
the city's community partners. He was referring to Main Street
Lincoln, support for the balloon festival with the Lincoln/Logan
County Chamber of Commerce, support for the Lincoln & Logan County
Development Partnership, and the Railsplitter Festival. He was told
all those agencies still have money in the budget.
Wilmert asked if they were all at the same funding levels as last
year and was told they were.
Anderson then questioned the CEDS fee for the development
partnership. She asked if the $5,000 annual fee will remain in
effect now that Lincoln and Logan County are in the CEDS program.
Snyder said he would get an update on that from Brian Bergen, the
development partnership's executive director, but the mayor's
understanding was that the fee would go to $6,000 per year, divided
between the city and the county.
Kathy Horn commented on the CEDS and Bergen, saying that now that
the county and city are members, Bergen is learning a lot about the
program and how it works. Snyder agreed, saying there has been a lot
of progress. Horn said yes, it was not like in years past. Jeff
Hoinacki said the development partnership has tried and tried for
that goal, and now that they have reached it, he would like to see
what it does for the city.
O'Donohue asked about the $2,500 to Main Street Lincoln for the
Christmas parade: Were they still getting that? It was explained
that the organization gets $12,500 and the $2,500 is included in
that total, but they can use it as they see fit.
Snyder also commented on a $25,000 request for a retail study
that is currently in the budget. He said it would bring consultants
to the city to do a study and identify the retail gaps. He said they
would then tell the city what gaps are present and what types of
retailers it needs to target.
Finally, the topic turned to the $8,000 garage door for the
street department. Wilmert commented, "I just have to know what that
Tracy Jackson of the street department said he had a bid for
$5,000 for a roof for the building at the landfill and the rest was
for a garage door. Snyder commented that the city was sinking $8,000
into an old building. He wanted to know what was being kept there.
Jackson said it housed the city backhoe, oil and an air compressor.
Anderson wondered if there would be room for those items in the
new city garage that will eventually be built. Jackson said the
backhoe was used just at the landfill to push brush and load trucks.
He was asked if he could not drive it back and forth as needed. And,
Jackson said he could.
Snyder said he just didn't see that the old building was worth
$8,000; he couldn't see putting that kind of money into it. Jackson
said that expense could then be cut and all he would need for the
landfill for the year would be $2,000.
The council agreed to leave the rest of the cuts to McLaughlin.
As it stands now, the vote for the new fiscal year budget will be on
the Monday agenda.
If, for some reason the council cannot approve the budget on
Monday, they will call for a meeting prior to the workshop session
on April 29. The city is required to have the budget passed before
the beginning of the fiscal year, which will be May 1.
[By NILA SMITH]
Previous articles on April 9
Budget talks continue
at city council: