Dunedin struggles to balance 2014 budget without cutting service levels
As the city works to craft next year's budget, officials are finding that even the most basic departmental requests are threatening to break the bank.
With all the cuts the city has made during the recession, Dunedin finance director Karen Feeney says city officials are running out of options. The general fund budget alone has plummeted from $33 million in 2007 to an anticipated $23.5 million in 2014, she said.
If the city were to grant every item on department heads' preliminary 2014 wish lists, Feeney predicts it would draw the pot down by the end of that fiscal year to $2.5 million, creating a $1.3 million shortfall.
The majority of wish list items, said Feeney and City Manager Rob DiSpirito, are things required to keep the city functioning, such as electricity, insurance and fuel.
"It is not possible to further reduce operating budgets without reducing service levels," Feeney wrote in a memo to commissioners ahead of a Tuesday morning budget workshop, "and some operational items that have been removed likely need to be reinstated."
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