Newark City Council approves capital budget

By Tom Lehman 11:21pm, October 8, 2012 - Updated 1:59pm, October 9, 2012
Newark City Manager Carol Houck talks about the city's 2013-2017 Capital Budget
Newark City Council approves a capital budget with some funding cuts at Monday's meeting to cut costs in light of next year's projected deficit.

WDEL's Tom Lehman has more:

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In total, the revised 2013-2017 capital improvement program is estimated around $41,488,000, a reduction of $360,000 allocated in the original proposal. The approval occurs while city employees are looking for ways to close a projected $1.2 million deficit projected for 2013.

City Manager Carol Houck says one of the largest funding cuts will occur within the city's street improvement plan, which is reduced from $1.3 million to $1 million in the revised budget. The program will receive partial funding from reserves in order to conserve financial resources.

Houck says the reduction is necessary because last year's program is still underway.

"It got started late, it'll be going well into next year, so it's actually a good transition year to have a smaller program and approach it a little bit if possible,"

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The city also cut maintenance yard cameras out of the budget because they will be bundled into its smart meter project.

She says the city will try to use existing funds while it adjusts to its financial situation in 2013.

"Essentially we're gonna use a little bit more of our reserves than we had planned to so we can fund things using reserves rather than new resources since we're challenged next year with some of our financing and revenues," she says.

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She says the capital budget remains a work in progress because the city's operating budget is still being determined.

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"If we have to take more capital out we will, but we're fine tuning forecasts and we'll be bringing that to council Nov. 12 for public hearing," she says.

Houck says city employees are still trying to determine whether property tax or utility rates should be increased to help close the deficit.

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