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Rocky start to budget process in Portage

Updated: September 8, 2014 7:30AM



PORTAGE — The weather continues to remind the Portage City Council of its wrath.

Clerk-treasurer Christopher Stidham explained the “distressed areas of the 2014 budget” at a council meeting Tuesday.

Stidham is projecting a possible $250,000 shortfall in the 2014 budget, due in part to spring storms that caused a significant amount of downed trees and limbs and significant spending to cover overtime pay for winter storm plowing.

“The winter was quite tough,” Fire Chief Tom Fieffer said, adding that the department was “spending more in repairs than we normally would.”

Adding to the budget misery, Councilman Matt Scheuer warned of the potential for a $1 million 2015 budget shortfall, which he attributes to principle and interest payments for bonds approved earlier in 2014.

Pointing to his record of opposing the bonds, Scheuer came out strongly against the park bond issued to improve park facilities.

After the meeting, Mayor James Snyder defended the bonds.

“Most of the budget stress is coming from the paving bond, but we needed to pave the roads,” Snyder said.

That wasn’t good enough for Scheuer.

“It is way past time to make tough decisions. Voting in favor of the bonds has had a damaging ripple effect on the budget,” he said. “I’m out of ideas on what can be done.”



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