Scottsbluff City Council members met Wednesday for a budget workshop ahead of the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Kevin Spencer, interim city manager, chaired the meeting and reviewed the budgeted items in each department for the coming year. He also commended the work of Treasury Director Liz Loutzenhizer and city staff to manage budgets in the face of rising costs and inflation.
The draft budget is conservative as the city looks at fuel, materials and project costs over the next year, Spencer said.
“It’s a pretty conservative look…which we thought was a good thing,” he told the council.
LB 357, the proposed project for a new aquatic center, will be put to the vote in November. If that happens, the city must budget funds for the project, otherwise the council must discuss the refurbishment of the Westmoor Pool complex.
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A major project the city will tender for next year is the $2.2 million transfer station. This project is budgeted in the fund of the environmental service. The reloading station is expected to be near the old city landfill.
Another project that will impact several departmental budgets is a project in Scotts Bluff County to upgrade equipment at the communications center.
“The comms center is upgrading all of its radio equipment,” Spencer said. “We’ve been trying to get an update on that, but it’s been a moving target in terms of our cut and what we’re getting, so we’re working on that.”
The project was originally valued at $7.2 million, with the county paying for the infrastructure and the city for the equipment.
The fire department has budgeted $26,090, the parks department $5,000 and the police department $35,591 for the county radio project.
Spencer also discussed the Plaza improvements planned for next year. The parks department has budgeted $850,000 to improve the plaza, but the estimated cost was almost $200,000 less.
“We got the numbers back and the estimate is $651,000,” Spencer said. “It’s a nice permanent stage. There will be a well defined entrance with brickwork. Some of these will be similar to the Highway 26 pedestrian overpass, connecting them together. It looks really good.”
Mayor Jeanne McKerrigan asked if the plaza’s improvements included adding restrooms to the space. Spencer said the issue is still under discussion as the restrooms would need to be quite extensive to accommodate the space’s occupancy. Discussions are also ongoing about acquiring surrounding properties, but nothing concrete is in the works.
The Wastewater Department estimates $515,000 for a 30-inch sewage treatment plant main piping. Spencer said a Colorado company will be lining pipes that size, which is a cheaper option for the city after an inspection showed the material’s current condition.
“When they ran the camera down there, they noticed that the top had deteriorated,” Spencer said. “Dave (Schaff, local engineer) estimated that 35,000 gallons of water flow through this pipe per minute. This is a big project.”
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