Commission Begins Budget Talk

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

It's budget time once again for the Bowling Green City Commission, and it started the process Thursday with the first of several meetings.

City Manager Kevin DeFebbo presented the Commission with a proposed budget for the 2007-2008 Fiscal Year.

The Commission put $2.5 million dollars back into the revenue stream as well as cutting the occupational tax in this year's budget.

However, City officials want the upcoming year's budget to look different.

The City's finance committee is asking for a "consolidation" budget this year to offset last year's expansive budget.

"We felt like this year, we wanted to step back and catch our breaths before we sign on to any major expenditures in Fiscal Year 2008," says Chief Financial Officer Jeff Meisel.

Meisel says just because there may not be as much spent on projects next fiscal year, citizens can still expect a lot to be done

"The citizens are still going to see major improvements going on. A lot of road improvements. Projects we had planned in FY 2007 will probably be carried over," Meisel notes.

He points to projects such as the long-awaited Lovers Lane project as one that will be relevant in the new budget.

The new budget could spend $10 million dollars to pay off some of the City's debt.

Currently, debt takes up 10 percent of the estimated budget.

70% of Bowling Green revenue comes from the City's Occupational Tax.

So with it going from 2 percent to 1.85 in the '07 budget, the city will have to bring more jobs to the table to keep up.

"We cannot get a lot of the tourism dollars in that we don't get the sales tax. We have to rely on job growth," Meisel says.

Meisel says the City's Finance Department believes that this more conservative budget will pay off dividends in the long run.

Over the next month, the Commission will have a couple of budget meetings.

They will tackle topics such as Capitol Improvements, agency funding, and the much-talked about Tax Increment Funding grant.

A new budget has to be in place by June 30th.

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