Budget process may change in future

City administrator wants process to start later in year; council wants more exact figures

As the Jefferson City Council prepares to give final approval to the 2013 budget, some officials have been discussing a change in the process for future years.

City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus said though he believes the final product is a good budget, the process was a bit rocky this year. Nickolaus said originally the council had planned on a new budget process, which would have been based on what was called decision packages. He said instead of looking at departments or employees, the council would have looked at various functions the city served and how much each function cost.

But that process didn’t end up panning out and, throughout the budget sessions, the process quickly changed back to what was always done, which is more of a line-by-line approach.

Nickolaus said the issue there is in difficult budget years, every council will search for unneeded funds, looking for ways to “trim the fat.” He said one of the things that disappointed him about the process was the continuation of the “myth” that there is fat to cut without affecting any services.

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