Lake Station's proposed 2013 budget leaner than this year

2012-09-08T20:12:00Z 2013-08-02T09:37:05Z Lake Station's proposed 2013 budget leaner than this yearDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, nwitimes.com
September 08, 2012 8:12 pm  • 

LAKE STATION | The city's proposed 2013 budget is leaner than this year's budget after deep cuts, Mayor Keith Soderquist said.

"I've decreased this year's budget, which was already very lean, by $300,000," Soderquist said.

The proposed 2013 budget is $12.4 million compared with this year's approved budget of $12.7 million.

Residents can comment on the proposed budget at a hearing set for 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at City Hall, 1969 Central Ave.

The proposed budget will have a final reading at a City Council meeting set for 6 p.m. Oct. 18, Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Samuels said.

Most of the cuts were the result of eliminating some city staff positions or reducing full-time positions to part time, Soderquist said.

In the Police Department, two full-time positions were combined into one administrative assistant job; a city receptionist position was eliminated; and a full-time animal control officer and a full-time janitor  were each reduced to part time.

"We feel pretty good about the budget," Soderquist said.

Despite position cuts, the proposed 2013 budget leaves open the possibility of up to a 3 percent raise for city workers and two elected officials.

"There's a contingency plan for up to 3 percent. We'll know later in the year, when we get our second tax draw, whether or not we'll be able to give out raises," Soderquist said.

He said the City Council has opted not to receive any pay hikes next year.

The only two elected officials in line for a possible raise would be Soderquist and Samuels.

"If city employees get a 2 percent raise, for instance, then the clerk-treasurer and I would get the same raise," Soderquist said.

Overall, the city's financial condition is stable and problems pointed out two years ago ago during a State Board of Accounts audit have all been addressed.

"Two years ago the State Board of Accounts said our city's financial condition could lead to bankruptcy, and we're still here and getting stronger," Soderquist said.

The city now has more funds in the black than ever before because of keeping diligent track of spending each day, Soderquist said.

He calls it a team effort and gives Samuels her due.

"It definitely is improving," Soderquist said.

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