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Trinidad city council takes first look at 2016 budget

TRINIDAD — The Trinidad City Council took its first look at the 2016 budget during its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 6. However it quickly became a walk through past budgeting processes, with council member Michelle Miles finding herself in disagreement with city manager Gabriel Engeland about how a possible $1.3 million surplus for 2016 was arrived at. Engeland presented the council with a power point presentation showing the numbers that the city will use to build its budget. “The budget will be on every agenda,” Engeland said. The city council will be in budget talks until the 2016 budget is adopted and the funds appropriated. The budget will be a process, rather then an event, as the city council works at putting together a plan to create a sustainable budget to allow the city to commit itself to the projects it will need to do through its capital budget, as well as providing funding the public requires. “The first thing we will say is this is a proposed budget; there will be changes,” Engeland said. One of the items affecting the budget will be

requests from community partners, the non-profits, located in the city. The staff doesn’t make recommendations, so the budget shows what has been moved forward from the 2015 budget. The council may decide to increase the funding for the non-profits or even reduce it. The council, in its look at the budget, was introduced to the general fund. “Many councils budget for $12 when they only have $10,” Engeland said. He noted it’s done this way in hope that $12 will show up, and if it doesn’t, something can be cut. Actions like this limit the ability of councils to make policy decisions, and by the end of the year, staff decides what gets cut rather than the council, a practice which reduces transparency to the citizens. “A budget is when values are put on paper,” said Engeland. Next Tuesday, the city council will look at the utilities and the capital budgeting estimates. An informal public review is set for Oct. 28 followed by a public hearing on Nov. 4. In action items, the city passed on second reading an update on the utility policy, with a 7-0 vote. They also passed 7-0, a leash law. All dogs outside of a fenced in yard now must be on a leash. Higher Calling U, a medical marijuana business received a renewal on its license by a 6-1 vote with council member Joe Bonato voting no. The “U” also received a renewal on its cultivation license. The council voted 7-0 to hold a public hearing on Nov. 17, in order to determine if High Sierra Naturals will receive a cultivation license. Several liquor licenses were issued as well. Trinidad Lanes was approved for renewal on a 7-0 vote as was Mantelli’s. The Quality Inn also received a renewal on its liquor license. The A.R. Mitchell Memorial, on a 7-0 vote, received a special event permit allowing for the sales of beer, wine, and spirits to be sold during its Black and White Ball. The fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, at 150 E. Main in Trinidad. The city council adjourned at 8:26 p.m.