The Duncan Banner

Local News

August 1, 2013

Budget review to give city outline for its spending

DUNCAN — City officials have completed a midpoint review of Duncan’s financial picture that could pave the way for more decisions on spending in the coming months.

City Budget Director Patti Clift has combed and reviewed data on revenues and expenditures for the first six months of Duncan’s $61 million 2013 budget and met with department chiefs to discuss specific questions and concerns.

In light of the review, City Manager Jim Frieda has asked staff directors this week to prioritize capital expenses they deem important and which ones could be put off pending a third-quarter look in October.

Frieda said decisions on those would not be made this week.

“But I will have a list of priorities and we just have to balance them out with money,” he said.

Some capital expenses, such as buying new equipment for the police and fire departments, already are being made as outlined in the budget.

But some, including various improvements at city parks and lakes, have not been made and might not occur at all this year because of budget and timing concerns.

For example, $33,500 was penciled in to build a small pavilion and playground at Hillcrest Park and $150,000 was budgeted for another parking lot expansion at Abe Raizen Park.

Those projects have not been undertaken yet and summer - when the parks are so heavily used - is halfway through. It might make some sense now, regardless of seasonal factors, to put them off until the next budget.

But there are other factors in play.   

The budget included $90,000 for a splash pad at Douglas Park on the south side of town, where a pool is no longer open. That city money was to be combined with a $90,000 state grant to provide an area of water play that requires no lifeguards.

The city is still waiting on the grant money to come through, and if it does soon, the project could move forward even if summer is on its last legs.

“If the grant comes through, I don’t want to lose the ability to accept that so I want to at least get started so we lock that grant in place and get the matching funds in place,” Frieda said.

Clift said sales tax revenues are relatively flat but coming in close to projections. But revenue from water and sewer utilities is down about $580,000 so far this year, in large part because of restrictions on outside water use imposed because of the drought.

Those restrictions conserve water and help protect Duncan’s continuing ability to provide it, but they also reduce utility payments — a big source of revenue the city uses to provide numerous services to residents.

Those developments are taken into account going forward.

The review disclosed some things that might not carry as big a price tag but are nonetheless significant.

A prime example, Clift said, was expecting about $55,000 in telephone franchise taxes this year from AT&T. But the company, at least so far, is paying only  $27,000.

Clift said AT&T sent the city a letter saying it was revising the way it calculates the tax.

“They didn’t give us any details so I want to see their records on what their gross revenues are in calculating that,” she said. “That is a prime example of one thing we thought would happen but didn’t.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Bench found competent, trial to start Monday

    A jury took 50 minutes on Thursday to find Miles Sterling Bench competent to stand trial for first-degree murder  and District Judge Joe Enos scheduled the trial to begin Monday.
    Bench, 23, of, Velma, is accused of the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry of Velma. She was killed in June 2012 in the Teepee Totem convenience store in Velma where Bench was employed.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 Miller and Decathlon 0016.jpg Miller pumps up decathlon students

    Dr. Ché Miller, who helped bridge a funding gap needed to send the Duncan High School Decathlon Team to the national competition in Hawaii, gave the team a pep talk on Thursday.
    Miller, recently recognized as the Man of the Year by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the students they are about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and advised them to absorb as much of the experience as they can.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Churches prepare for Easter Sunday

    Churches throughout Duncan and Stephens County are preparing to celebrate Easter this Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.
    Today is known as Good Friday to mark the day Christ was crucified on a cross.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 lauren-ellis mug.jpg Ellis named new CEO of regional United Way

    Lauren Ellis, who’s led the United Way of Stephens County for more than two years, has been named the new chief executive officer of the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma.
    Her new job will be based in Lawton but Ellis said she will remain in Duncan and commute.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jurors to decide Bench competency issue today

    Jurors will hear final arguments on Thursday and then be asked to determine whether  23-year-old Miles Sterling Bench is mentally competent to stand trial for first-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry nearly two years ago.

    April 17, 2014

  • 4-17 Decathlon Team1 0127.jpg DHS Decathlon Teams prepares

    Not every high school student gets an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the 10 team members of the Duncan High School Decathlon Team.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baseball tourney to be held in Wiles' memory

    The Duncan Middle School baseball team will hold a tournament in memory of the late Alyssa Wiles.

    April 17, 2014

  • Corporon memorial planned for Friday in Marlow

    A candlelight vigil for Dr. William Corporon and his grandson Reat Underwood will be held at Marlow High School at 8 p.m. Friday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gay recuses himself from Morales trial

    Associate District Judge Dennis Gay on Wednesday disqualified himself from the trial of Dr. Oscar Morales Jr.

    April 17, 2014

  • Psychologists disagree on Bench’s mental competency

    Two psychologists on Tuesday offered differing opinions  about the mental competency of Miles Sterling Bench to stand trial for first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Braylee Henry.
    Bench, dressed in a dark blue suit, sat through a second day of court proceedings that will determine if the case against him goes to trial. The state is seeking the death penalty.

    April 16, 2014