City Studies FY '03 Budget

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Meridian City Council members interviewed department heads and reviewed their dollar requests.

Each department head submits a budget request. The administration reviews the requests, prepares a proposed budget and submits it to the council.

The city council interviews both the department heads and the administration and makes the final decision.

Fire chief Bunky Partridge's position is typical.

"In the year 2003 we're looking for a new engine because one of our present engines is a 1983 and we need a newer engine because the state rating bureau is only looking at it for a 20-year period," said Partridge.

The cost of a new fire engine runs between $350,000 and $400,000.

Long time councilman Dr. George Thomas is a veteran of budget planning.

"You try to look at what they need and then operate on what they need rather than what they want," said Thomas. "A lot of times though they ask for a little bit more than what they actually need in the hope that if we do cut it back they'll have what they've got to have."

Last year the dollars were extremely tight, but because of increased sales tax collections, this year should be better.

"Right now it looks pretty good.," said Thomas. "Of course you've got reappraisal of property which ups the value. We assume it's going to up the value of property which will produce more property tax without a tax increase actually. But because of the property increase and the assessed valuation going up people will probably pay more tax."

The general fund budget of approximately $25 million must be approved before Oct. 1.