Pelham works through interactive budgeting process

Pelham city officials are working on creating the budget for the 2015 fiscal year. (File)

Pelham city officials are working on creating the budget for the 2015 fiscal year. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Pelham city officials are currently working through the process of creating the fiscal year 2015 budget. A final budget should be ready for approval during the Sept. 15 City Council meeting, Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes confirmed.

For the second year, the City Council is using an interactive process to review and create the budget.

Department heads each met with Pelham Mayor Gary Waters and Finance Director Tom Seale to put together a budget proposal. Then department heads individually meet with the City Council to prioritize spending.

“Basically, each department head puts together the needs of their department… The department heads are the advocates for their team,” Hayes explained. “ They present that to us, and we prioritize.”

Through discussion, the City Council works with the department heads to determine “the needs, the wants and the likes” of department in order to allocate spending, Hayes said. Hayes highlighted the communication and interaction in the process, noting it improves the City Council’s “understanding so we can prioritize.”

“We’ve taken a very different approach (than past years,)” Hayes said. “Having that interaction (is something) I’ve really enjoyed, and it’s something we as a Council have benefitted from.”

In addition to planning for the 2015 fiscal year, the Pelham City Council is keeping an eye toward the future throughout the budgeting process, Hayes said.

“We’re looking at 2015 to 2020… you need to be… from a budget perspective, we’re a lot bigger than cities our size,” Hayes said, noting the Pelham Racquet Club, the Civic Complex and Ice Arena and Ballantrae Golf Course, all of which fall under the city’s budget.

Budgeting with the future in mind allows the Council to work with department heads to plan for spending within the budget year as well as going forward and to “truly capitalize on the phenomenal opportunities in front of us,” Hayes said.