Report: Ashland Citizen’s Budget Committee to Consider $384 million Budget

By David Runkel

Ashland’s Citizens Budget Committee meets this afternoon to begin consideration of the proposed $384 million, two-year city budget.

In unveiling the budget last week, City Manager Joe Lessard said the document “reflects city staff’s effort to  match available funding and personnel with anticipated workload demands.”

The budget calls for additional hiring in the police and fire and rescue departments, construction of a new water treatment plant, improvement of the fiber network and new programs for child care, downtown revitalization and business assistance.

While according to Mr. Lessard the overall budget is balanced when you include all of the city utilities, general fund’s expenditures are $6.7 million in excess of anticipated revenues.  The general fund is supported by tax income, franchise fees, licenses and permits and intergovernmental revenues.  Projected income over the two-year period beginning July 1 is $84.8 million. 

Police, fire and rescue, parks, community development, finance and administration personnel are paid out of the general fund, along with materials and services. Projected expenses are $91.5 million.

The Budget Committee, composed of the mayor, six members of Council and seven city residents appointed by the Council, is due to meet at 3 p.m. the first four Thursday afternoons this month in the City Council chambers on East Main street to consider the budget proposal.  Meetings are open to the public.

Last week, Shane Hunter, an accountant, was re-elected as committee chair.  Erick Navickus, a farmer who is a former council member, was elected vice chair. 

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