Miles City Council approves $23 million budget for 2016-17

The Miles City Council passed a $26.7 million city budget for 2016-17 Tuesday night.

The $23,668,213 spending plan includes $5 million in General Fund expenditures, nearly $900,000 in cash carryover and various enterprise funds like ambulance, water, sewer, airport and library..

Finance Committee Chairwoman Susanne Galbraith said the police department requested an additional officer, which the council did not feel it could afford at the moment. Instead, a part-time administrative assistant was added and one of the four sergeants will be promoted to detective.

The General Fund also will place $77,000 in a Capital Improvement Fund that had been depleted over the years.

A new ambulance is in the budget. During staff reports, Fire Chief Gary Warren told the council that one of the ambulances — one that recently got a new motor — broke down that day.

He said it wouldn’t start and mechanics worked on it all day until they finally towed it to a shop. It was expected to be fixed Wednesday.

“The problem is that for about half an hour, that we know of, there was no ambulance available in the city. Our main ambulance was out on an emergency call, and our number 2 ambulance was on a transfer to Billings and was gone most of the day. So the ambulance issue continues,” he said.

There have been other times recently when mechanical problems tied up ambulances.

An additional police car was also in the budget.

Councilman John Uden requested the budget be amended by adding $35,000 for new lighting for the upstairs area of the Miles City Public Library.

That money would have come out of the Capitol Improvement budget.

City Clerk Lorrie Pearce said that would leave only $11,000 in Capitol Improvements.

Galbraith said that during the budget hearings the library was requested to come up with three bids and a bid for repairs “and we have yet to see those bids.”

“It is my understanding that each of those lights could be repaired for $75 without putting brand new lights in. We have City Hall carpet with tape on it. We felt they can be frugal and repair their lights like everyone else repairs,” she said.

Members of the Miles City Area Economic Development Council and Southeastern Montana Economic Development Corp. voiced support for funding for those group’s efforts, which is in the final budget.

The city gave MCAEDC $5,000 and SEMEDC $10,998.

In other business, the council granted a Home Occupation permit to Karla Murnin to offer rooms for a short-term basis at 1603 Pearl St.

From Miles City Star