Council approves upcoming fiscal year budget

Council approves upcoming fiscal year budget

LAWTON, Okla._City council approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Tuesday.

Acting City Manager Jerry Ihler said it represents an overall reduction in the operating budget of a little more than $2,000,000 from last year.

There was also a net reduction of eight jobs, but there was some intense discussion Tuesday night regarding that number. The initial budget proposal suggested 23 vacant positions would be left vacant. The finance director said a closer look revealed that some of those jobs were not actually vacant. The council went ahead and approved the budget as written, with the stipulation to go back and see if more job cuts can be made. The budget does include a $1 surcharge added to the utility bill, and the council voted to remove the $1 fee that had been added for the cloud seeding contract, so in effect, the utility bill fees remain the same.

One other item of note from the council meeting, they voted to extend the firefighters union contract into the next fiscal year. However, the employee step increases are frozen while negotiations continue on a new bargaining agreement.