May 162014

By Sam Conner

The Winslow City Council met in a special session before its regular Tuesday evening meeting to discuss the city’s budget and capital improvement plan.

City Manager Stephen Pauken noted that some things in the budget and capital improvement plans are new or different than in the past. He said that forecasting revenue is difficult, but that the city has received more shared revenue from the state and highway user funds are up.

He spoke of the purchase of 885 acres south of town, which will be in the budget for five years at a cost of $115,000 per year.

Pauken said a general increase in wages for employees of three percent is included in the budget and explained how this would be figured. He noted that this applies to this budget and not any future budget.

Engineer Mark Woodson spoke about the capital improvement budget, and said $45,000 will be spent on improvements at Eagle Pavilion, especially providing a roof, and that it will be ready before the Standing on the Corner Festival. There will be $65,000 for improvements on the Girl Scout House, a much used facility. The senior center is slated to have $200,000 worth of improvements done in the next two years. The city is also committing $42,000 per year for 10 years for the fire department to purchase a water tender, which it is estimated will lower insurance rates in the city.

During the discussion of water rates, Mayor Robin Boyd said that he was bothered that the city was raising water rates four percent because usage has decreased, but before they had been raised to decrease usage. He wondered how Snowflake and Taylor have water rates half of Winslow’s.

The council discussed water deposits and voted to keep them at $200 instead of raising them to $250 as proposed, and to allow the four percent rate increase. The vote was 4-2, with Councilwoman Marsha Juergens and Councilman Peter Cake voting in opposition. They said they wanted only a two percent rate increase.