The Aberdeen City Council has approved a budget for 2014, but had to dip into reserves to balance it.
Nearly half of the $37.9 million in expenditures in the 2014 budget are to be spent on salaries, wages and employee benefits. Expected revenues in 2014 are projected at $34.89 million. To make up the difference, the city will pull about $3 million from $15.2 million the city projects will be in reserves.
The council amended the proposed budget to reinstate $30,000 in funding for the city’s Splash festival held in summer and organized by the Parks and Recreation Department. The funding was taken from “general fund reserves.” The amendment offered by committee chairman Jeff Cook, also stipulated that “(s)hould funding be awarded by the Hotel/Motel Committee in 2014, it is the intent that the general fund transfer would be reduced by that amount.”
Cook is also the city council representative to the committee, which considers annual applications for funding from groups who sponsor tourism events.
The $30,000 was removed from the budget at the last council meeting, throwing it out of balance.
Councilmember Jim Cook, no relation, suggested that the Hotel/Motel Committee which is also made up of representatives from the tourism trade in Aberdeen, meet in the fall rather than spring so that funding can be awarded before the next year’s budget is crafted and an annual showdown over funding for the festival can be avoided.
Most events are held in summer but must allocate money long before that. Alstrom, a former finance committee chairman, concurred with Jim Cook and also suggested that groups be asked to file their reports before the fall meeting instead of allowing them to wait until the end of the year.
Normally, the hotel committee meets in late spring, which forces the city to allocate general funds to Splash because they need to sign talent and other vendors in Januray for the July 4th festival. By making the changes suggested in committee and in the larger council meeting, the members can avoid the annual showdown.