The Chadron City Council Tuesday night held its first stand-alone budget hearing, a requirement passed by the legislature to bring more transparency to the budget process and increase public comment.
The Chadron hearing failed to meet the latter goal as no one from the public showed up to say anything about the proposed $18.5-million dollar package, which includes reserves.
Instead of public comment, the council and any online or cable tv viewers heard a brief overview of the budget by City Finance Director Jeanette Puzzo.
Puzzo explained that overall revenue is up 20% and spending up 17% primarily because of some $1.9-million dollars in federal COVID relief and stimulus funds,
General fund revenue jumps 50% because of the federal money with general fund spending rising from $4.7-million to $7.1-million, reflecting several anticipated infrastructure projects funded almost entirely by the COVID funds.
Sales tax revenue for the current year is running well above projections, resulting in a much larger cash carryover for the new year, and increased valuation will bring in about $44,000 more in property taxes, which will carry the same tax rate as this year.
Members of the public can still comment at the next 2 city council meetings during the second reading of the budget ordinance on Monday the 16th and the final reading on Tuesday, September 7.