Parks budget at the center of budget battle

Published 11:29 pm Monday, September 16, 2013

By Jay Sowers

The Selma Times-Journal


VALLEY GRANDE — With an Oct. 1 deadline approaching, every ‘t’ and ‘i’ in the Valley Grande 2014 operating budget will be crossed and dotted after they are closely inspected during a special work session to be held Tuesday evening.

Valley Grande City Council will take a closer look at the city’s 2014 budget during a special session at 7 p.m. Tuesday — a work session called so that Mayor Wayne Labbe and the five council members can go through the budget, line by line.

The budget, which was presented and tabled during the Monday’s council meeting, rose to the forefront of conversation with the potential of being approved.

Councilmember Kenneth Martin presented several amendments to the proposed budget, including making cuts to the parks and recreations department, one area Labbe sees as a growth area for the city moving forward.

“We’re trying to grow the parks and recreations,” Labbe said. “That’s where we are going.”

Martin argued Labbe’s projections for revenue from Valley Grande Sports Complex next year did not match up with his own.

“You projected we are going to bring in $10,000 from the park, I project we are going to spend $10,000 on the park,” Martin said.

Labbe said several cuts in Martin’s proposal, including the cuts to the parks and recreations budget, threatened to stymie future growth.

“The thing about a budget is … you have to put your budget so that you put yourself in a place to move forward,” Labbe said. “And some of the numbers I’m seeing here from you, Kenny, I’m not seeing that.”

Councilmember Jane Craig said she found a number of things she disagreed with while reading over the proposed budget before Monday’s meeting.

“I made a lot of notes on here,” Craig said. “By the time we get through this budget, we are going to be flat broke.”

Some of the numbers I’m seeing from you, Wayne, are going to be putting us in a hole,” Craig said.

After Craig proposed tabling the budget until a special work session could be called — and was later scheduled—Labbe made an effort put to rest any notion that lengthy deliberations would delay the approval on a budget past the Oct. 1 deadline.

“We’re going to get this done before Oct. 1,” Labbe said. “We will get this done.”