The Duncan Banner

Local News

December 20, 2012

City budget complex; employees to get raises

DUNCAN — Duncan city employees have been allotted a 5 percent pay raise included in the city’s 2013 budget, which was approved at a special city council meeting on Wednesday evening.

The decision to pass the budget was a unanimous decision by the city council. The budget was prepared by City Manager Jim Frieda and Finance Director Patti Clift and presented to the council by Freida.

The budget includes $3 million of a $9 million general obligation bond for street improvements that must win approval of residents in a city-wide vote. The city council would first have to vote on putting the proposal on a ballot, and city officials hope to have the election sometime in February.

If a bond is not approved, the $3 million would be removed from the budget.

Another focus of the budget is reducing the city’s debt, which in years past has been in excess of $60 million. Currently, the debt is at about $55,026,000 with about $4,900,000 paid annually for debt services.

“We are working on getting our debts down,” Mayor Gene Brown said. “That is one of our goals.”

Spending also includes $1.44 million that Halliburton has put in an escrow account to pay for extending city water lines to houses in a section of north Duncan where a contaminated missile fuel site is located.

Even if the $3 million money from a street bond issue and the Halliburton cleanup money are removed, the budget is about $800,000 more than the current budget that expires on Dec. 31. The new budget will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

Much of the spending increase would be directed at reducing the city’s unfunded pension liabilities for city employees.

The salary increases would cost about $492,000, but part of that would be offset by about $450,000 in savings the city will get by switching to Blue Cross and Blue Shield as its plan’s third-party administrator. Health coverage will remain the same but cost the city less because Blue Cross has a larger pool of participants.

Collectively, employees will pay about $70,000 more next year for health insurance premiums, which will effectively take a small bite out of the salary increases.

City workers got a 5-percent pay raise this year, so 2013 would be the second straight year for a sizable increase. Before this year, city employees went four straight years without any increases while yearly inflation drove up the cost of living.

Frieda said that 13 city positions have been left unfilled, mostly by design, in order to keep personnel costs low. In the budget, this translates to a savings of $721,045.

Some city departments will get increases for capital improvements next year, while some will get less.

For example, city police got $207,500 for improvements last year but will get $37,600 less this year. Much of the reduction is due to spending less for capital lease payments for vehicles.

About $137,000 was steered to improvements at Duncan’s city lakes this year, but $272,000 is allocated for next year. The largest expenditure next year is $150,000 for a new fish house at Clear Creek Lake, and $60,000 is directed at campsite improvements — up from $10,000 this year.

No public opinion on the 2013 budget was voiced as no public was present at the council meeting, a disappointment expressed both by Frieda and members of the council.

“It is upsetting when they do not understand our expenditures for specific items,” Frieda said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • City Council Water rationing specter suddenly produces a crowd

    The Duncan Council met again on Tuesday, as it does twice a month, but there was something different about the latest gathering -- there were more than a handful of people in the audience.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Main Street Duncan receives praise, funding

    Civic leaders on Tuesday endorsed the role of Main Street Duncan in improving the city and urged the council to approve the annual $20,000 contribution it makes to the nonprofit organization.

    July 23, 2014

  • Marlow city council opens fourth firefighter position

    Jason McPherson, Marlow city administrator, announced Tuesday evening that the potential task force for the Marlow fire department did not come together as planned.

    July 23, 2014

  • Stephens County unemployment below the state average

    Oklahoma experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the country for the month of June. The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent, the lowest it has been in almost six years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Community Intervention Center faces budget cuts, layoffs

    While the Duncan Community Intervention Center faces a $126,476 budget reduction next year, it is only part of a $4,977,079 budget reduction by the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs.

    July 23, 2014

  • Library Teen Volunteers Library shows appreciation for teen volunteers

    To show her appreciation for her summer help, Duncan children’s librarian Darbie LaFontain headed a thank you party for the teen volunteers.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • School supplies to be given to Velma children

    Velma children may receive free school supplies thanks to the Velma Volunteer Fire Department and the Velma EMS.

    July 23, 2014

  • 7-22 mainstreet.jpg Most Main Street Duncan members haven’t paid dues

    The new executive director of Main Street Duncan has her work cut out for her.
    The nonprofit organization, designed to pump life into Duncan’s historic down, has collected only 40 percent of the dues it is owed for the past year, according to records.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-22 CTHC Drawing Class2 0288.jpg Phillips leads creative process through Heritage Center art class

    Brenda Phillips took her art knowledge and applied it to two groups Monday.
    Phillips, an art teacher at Duncan High School, led a drawing class Monday at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, teaching two groups, youths and adults, the basics of drawing. Phillips will continue the two-day class today.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-22 Douglass Pool2 0295.jpg Douglass Pool splash pad work underway

    Douglass Pool may be only about a month away from becoming a splash pad.
    On Monday, City of Duncan workers began breaking up the concrete making up the pool deck. Dana Stanley, parks and cemetery superintendent for the city, said he hopes the slash pad project will be completed by the end of August to allow it to be used before the season comes to an end.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos