Mayor Dennis Hooks says the thought of “kicking the can” down the road and dealing with problems in the future has to stop. Council member Waymon Hamilton said the council has been between “a rock and a hard place” between wanting to maintain the services people expect and being able to afford them.
“No one has enough money to run their departments right now,” Hamilton said.
Blaisdell said he called his department heads into a Monday meeting and asked them to find another 2 percent to cut in their budgets.
“I trust them when they say they’ve looked and can’t do it,” Blaisdell said.
Janicek said the city has been looking at improving its efficiency in the way it does many things for years and suggested a long-term strategic discussion to get city departments back to their funding and employee levels of 2008.
In the end, the council opted to leave the city manager’s budget the same, giving present employees the 2 percent COLA increase while adjusting retiree’s increases to 50 percent of the inflation rate.
Other late cuts being made were to the funding given by the city to a number of groups. Three organizations: Center of Hope, Freedom House and the Parker County Committee on Aging had requested a combined $74,000 from the city’s general fund. The groups will receive a combined $60,000 with the PCCOA receiving $30,000 and the other two groups getting $15,000 each.
Four other groups had requested hotel occupancy tax monies. Two of the groups: Theatre off the Square and Texas Opry Theater received no funds. The Chamber will receive $114,529, down nearly $7,000 from a year ago, with the Doss Heritage and Culture Center receiving $13,471, more than $8,000 less than in 2013.
The city’s 2014 general fund budget takes effect Oct. 1.