Chelsea plans to keep budget tight

In the coming fiscal year, the city of Chelsea plans to decrease spending to match a loss in revenue.

Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven presented his recommendation for the 2010-2011 city budget at a City Council work session Aug. 24

The city’s estimated revenue for next year is down $170,810, leading Niven to suggest a tighter hold on the city’s spending without cutting services.

“This is a conservative approach, I think it’s a safe approach,” said Niven.

One spending cut suggested is a freeze on raises for city employees. Niven said it was a tough but necessary decision to make.

“We’ve got some good people, hopefully they’re understanding,” Niven said. “The revenue is just not coming in like it should under normal conditions. If the economy picks up and there is sufficient funds, in six months I’d like us to revisit this.”

This is the first year the city has not been able to give raises to its employees, Niven said.

Other cutbacks include professional fees, city notions/recognitions, parks and beautification and administrative expenses.

Niven suggested the city continue its regular donations to area schools. Councilmember Tony Picklesimer said the school donations are essential.

“This is what we do,” Picklesimer said. “ This is not our money, this is the people’s money. We just manage it, we’re just stewards.”

The proposed budget increases spending on capital items including streets and roads and the Crane House library.

The Crane House, the new location for the library, will receive two additional rooms and new flooring.

Roads to be paved include Sydney Lane and Stanley Drive. Other roads will be updated, including Cupid Lane, Ferguson Drive and Shady Branch Drive.

The proposed budget will be presented for the first reading at the next City Council meeting scheduled for Sept. 7.