On Tuesday, August 26, at the regular City Council meeting, the Council will hold the public hearing for the new annual budget. Two weeks ago, the Council approved the preliminary proposal for roughly 7.6 million dollars with another 4 million in reserve. Nearly 4 million of that comes from tax revenue; that’s right, the money you and local businesses directly pay into the pot through property taxes. The other approximately 3.3 million comes from other, non-levy revenues from various government sources. At the public hearing, you have an opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions, or voice your opinions about the proposed budget.
Rarely does any city resident ask questions about the budget. Nonetheless, the budget process is always open for questions and review. The Council, Mayor and City staff spend many months preparing for and planning the budget.
The budget is an overwhelming document and much of is not easy to understand if you’ve never before read through a large budget, but if you’re interested to view it, there are two pages that provide a summary of the entire document. If you take a look at the pages titled “City of Colstrip Tax Levy Schedule 2014-2015 Budget” and “Summary Schedule 2014-2015 Budget Non-Levied Funds” you’ll get a two page snapshot of the entire budget; the revenue totals and the expense totals. You can stop by City Hall and ask for a copy of the entire document or just these two pages.
The whole document makes for a lot of reading and you may not care for much of it, but the two pages listed above make for an easy and quick review. I encourage you to at least take a passive interest your city budget. It’s a lot of money, but a part of it is yours. Don’t you want to know how it’s being spent?