The city of Grand Island is gearing up for final budget talks Tuesday night. On the agenda, or rather chopping block, could be funding for the Grand Generation Center, fixes for Jackrabbit Run and city staff.
Three weeks ago, the city council approved the addition of ten new officers to the police force, at a cost of $760,000 for next year alone. But, that falls in step with the city's budget prioritization program that sets city standards. Although quality of life is assessed under that program, the requested $100,000 for the city's Grand Generation Center may not be there to give.
It's the difference between ‘what we want to do and what we can do,' said Peg Gilbert and the
council president is sticking to her guns. "It's what we can afford to do, can we add on a new spending commitment that is required every year, that's something we need to look at," she said. She added the council needs to make sure the money, if allotted, is "only used for capital improvements because that's what the ballot said it would be used for."
Gilbert said she's receiving support from her constituents, including senior citizens, on not
approving the $100,000 if it means an increase in property taxes. Gilbert has promised not to raise taxes heading into budget discussions. Also on the block Tuesday night are one and a half full-time equivalent employees in the finance department whose responsibilities have been outsourced.
"Labor being a huge cost to the city, even though we talk salary it really goes beyond that, there are benefits and all the support," she said. "That is a significant investment in every individual we have."
There's the nearly half-million dollar improvements to the city run golf course too, all hopefully seeing time tomorrow night. But, there's a strong chance none of this could get decided tomorrow night, which could push budget talks into Wednesday, possibly even Thursday.