Helena approves 2016-17 budget

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The city of Helena and the City Council unanimously approved the 2016-17 fiscal year budget on Sept. 26.

The city of Helena had revenues of about $7.7 million and expenditures of about $7.7 million, which resulted in a positive net of $40,000.

City Council members and Helena Mayor Mark Hall were happy to see a positive budget, even with Helena having a considerably smaller budget than surrounding municipalities.

“Overall you’re looking at about a $12 million budget for the city of Helena combined with utilities, even though those are separate,” said Hall. “There again, telling the public that we stretched their nickel to a dime every year and we do more with less than any other city I think in the metropolitan area of our size.”

One of the things Helena City Council president Cris Nelson was most proud of was the fact that city employee raises were still able to be included in the budget.

“I’m proud for what we are able to do and accomplish with all of the City Council members and that we are able to offer our city employees their step raises that they are due and their COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) raises that they are due,” said Nelson. “This is the third year that we’ve been able to do that.”

Helena Councilman Hal Woodman also praised the council for the positive budget and hard work.

“I want to thank all the department heads and Amanda and Mark for this budget,” said Woodman. “I’m very proud to be a part of a city that has a balanced budget. Great job to the council as well.”