City budget estimated to have deficit for 2005-06

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The City Finance Committee officials are looking at an estimated $47,891 deficit for the 2005-06 fiscal year, but City Manager Debi Lee hopes a continuation of economic success will make up the difference.
City finance committee members held their second budget hearing on Monday and Lee said a final budget will need to be sent to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration by June 1.
Lee estimates revenues of $5.3 million for the 2005-06 fiscal year. The revenue, coupled with a transfer of $1,226,055 from utility revenue would equal $6,526,055. The projected expenditures equal $6,574,906.
Lee said that the estimation of $5.3 million in revenue was conservative. The revenues for the city were $4.7 million for 2003-04 and $5.07 million for 2004-05.
One of Lee’s concerns is the need of roof repairs for city buildings.
“One of the glaring issues is the condition of the roofs,” Lee said. “This year we have budgeted for patchwork of the roof of the fire department. They’re (roofs) old and not covered by insurance. There’s no way we can fund all of these roofs this year and the situation only gets worse the more we delay it.”
Lee said there are five roofs in need of repair: the Memorial Building, City Hall, the fire department, the library roof and the community services center.
Lee estimated it would cost approximately $125,000 to repair each roof. Lee said city officials are looking into perhaps going into a payment plan to be able to pay for repairs of the roofs.
Tom Howell, public works director, said the plan is to fix the city hall roof this year.
Lee said the committee will be looking at cuts in some areas to help balance the budget. She said one of the budget cuts is personnel costs for the Portales Airport. Lee said they are proposing having two full-time employees at the airport and eliminating part-time personnel.
Another option is reducing the hours of the recreation center. The recreation center is open until 8:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and until 9 p.m. on Friday. She said she will be recommending the recreation center close at 6:30 p.m.
Some department head requests which were not granted included:
• $35,000 for library roof repair,
• $17,800 for an animal control vehicle,
• $18,000 for an administrative vehicle and
• $15,500 for a truck for the parks department.