Committee makes budget cuts

By Tony Parra

Finance Committee members were in limbo as to the status of funding for the Roosevelt Chamber of Commerce and the Community Services Center, but eventually made cuts during Wednesday’s meeting.
Finance committee members decided to make a 6.8 percent cut to the contracted services of Community Development coordinator Kim Huffman’s salary and bigger cuts in contracted services from the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.
“My labor force is going to go down,” Huffman said to reduce costs. “I understand the situation the city is in. We’re going to run the welcome center and we’re still going to make the effort to welcome visitors and bring in new businesses.”
Huffman said he works to bring new businesses to Portales. Garden Source, Hong Kong Super Buffet, Dollar General, American Eagle Tatoo Parlor and Sheila’s Classy to Whimsy opened in Portales within the last 12 months.
Initially finance committee members decided to pay the same amount, $15,000 for the contracted services, such as mailing supplies and advertising, of the Roosevelt Chamber of Commerce and $45,000 for Huffman. The 6.7 percent cut equates to $3,050 for Huffman’s contracted amount.
There was also going to be $20,000 in funding to the Community Services Center, but the amount was cut by 10 percent to $18,000.
Finance Committee members agreed the amount of the contracted services would be $10,000 instead of the $15,000 originally budgeted. Lee said the proposal would mean that of the $10,000, half would come out of the city’s general fund and the other half from the Lodger’s tax. Lodger’s tax board members still have to approve the $5,000 to help with the cost.
The change in funding came after deliberation on the other cuts finance committee members are going to make to city personnel costs.
“We figured if we were going to be making cuts to our departments, I think it’s only fair we make those same reduction to outside agencies,” City Manager Debi Lee said. “I have met with Kim and he thought it (amount) would be workable. We’re in dire straits financially with the budget.”
The news comes less than a month away from the grand opening of the Welcome Center in the downtown center. Huffman and Chamber of Commerce staff members will be moving into the new location, while city employees will move into offices in the Memorial building, according to Huffman.
The Memorial Building is owned by the city and city employees will continue to rent out the Memorial Building for events and Drinking While Intoxicated classes.
Community Services Center employees depend on the approximate $18,000 to help pay for adult care and senior meal services, among other services. Employees also said they depend on funding from United Way fund-raising late in December.