HUTCHINSON, Kan. — With no desire to eliminate a police position and wanting to give a pay increase to employees, the Hutchinson City Council still faces about $500,000 in cuts if it wants to maintain an ending fund balance of $4.1 million.
The discussion came at another budget meeting as the city wrestles with stagnant revenues and increasing costs. One area that did gather more discussion again at this meeting was the animal shelter. The shelter costs have increased dramatically from around $300,000 in 2016, to more than $452,000 for 2019.
Police Chief Dick Heitschmidt told the council that the only way to save any money from the shelter would be to eliminate any waiting to adopt pets and give the animals taken three days before being euthanized. Heitschmidt says the costs to keep animals sheltered and cared for are great.
The elimination of the prison inmate work program has also caused costs to increase. Other cuts that made the list include changing the city’s radio maintenance provider. That will save $52,000. More cuts to park staff and eliminating the proposed “Move to Hutch” campaign that was part of the planning department will also help. It also included a list of deferred maintenance needs and purchases.
The council seemed to agree on an increase to building rental fees, a 5 percent increase in season passes, and a $1 increase in green fees for the golf course. The council also briefly discussed increasing franchise fees, but with that number already at 5 percent, the discussion was short lived.
The city is trying to eliminate the constant spending down of its reserve fund. In 2016, that fund was nearly $6 million. If the budget is approved as the council wants it, the reserve fund would fall to $4 million.
The next budget meeting for the city council is set for July 19.