The Norman Transcript


June 5, 2013

Lean city budget may not be lean enough

NORMAN — Despite hiring freezes, no pay raises and vacant city staff positions being eliminated, Norman continues to use its general fund balance to buoy revenue sources and balance the budget. The downward trend must stop, council member Robert Castleberry told fellow council members at a FY 2014 budget study session Tuesday.

“We are planning to spend $2.5 million more than we expect in revenue,” said Castleberry who is a a certified public accountant. “That will leave us with a projected general fund balance of $1.2 million.”

The city has been drawing down its general fund balance for several years. In 2008, the general fund balance carried over $12.6 million.

“That was an excess,” Castleberry said. “I think you probably need to be at a 3 to 4 percent level. Right now, we’ve budgeted to finish at 1.5 percent. That’s definitely too low.”

On the plus side, the city council has put $1.5 million in the Rainy Day fund and is proposing to transfer another million this year, bringing the Rainy Day fund up to $2.5 million.

The Rainy Day fund acts as an emergency savings account that can only be used under certain circumstances.

Tuesday, Norman Finance Director Anthony Francisco outlined seven proposed budget amendments based on direction the city council has given staff for changing the proposed budget document. Most of those are last minute housekeeping details.

Castleberry proposed another amendment to cut the already lean budget.

He suggested chopping expenses described as supplies, materials and vendor services. The city manager will bring back details on those items so the council can make a more informed decision about how much can be trimmed.

“It will give us a chance to do a line-by-line assessment,” Castleberry said. “The key thing is, we’ve done this with no personnel cuts this year.”

In other city business, city attorney Jeff Bryant reported on the status of the University North Park TIF. The TIF district has generated an extra $22.9 million in net sales tax since it’s inception in October 2006 through March 2013.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board grants Norman low-interest loan for facility upgrade

    Norman has been authorized for a $50.3 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to fund Phase 2 of the Norman Water Reclamation Facility upgrade. “It’s the single largest loan OWRB has made,” Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. ...

    April 17, 2014

  • General fund continues to decline as expenses exceed anticipated revenues

    Norman’s expenses will again outstrip projected revenue in the current budget before the city council. The budget for the fiscal year that starts in July and ends June 30, 2015, projects $210,982,020 in total revenues and $213,436,778 in ...

    April 16, 2014

  • County hears presentation on employment opportunities

    The Cleveland County Board of Commissioners listened to a presentation Monday to consider partnering with a nonprofit that provides employment opportunities for prison inmates re-entering the community. Patrick Viklund, Center for ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Drilling operation shows policy gap

    While Norman residents are being encouraged to use rain barrels, a Texas oil and gas company is pumping thousands of gallons of treated drinking water into the ground. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission controls permits for drilling, ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Filings finished

    In addition to Ward 2 Norman City Council candidates Clint Williams and Aliesha Karjala several federal, state and county officials will be on the June 24 ballots. Filing for offices that serve Cleveland County residents are: · ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Fracking review online

    The Oklahoma Hydraulic Fracturing State Review is available on the Corporation Commission’s website, Completed in 2011 by a non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization, State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Candidates file for state and federal positions Thursday

    New filings on Thursday include: ; ...

    April 11, 2014

  • City briefs

    Egg hunt today  Norman’s Easter Egg Hunt will be today at Andrews Park. Activities — including moon bounces, games, giveaways and Easter Bunny photos (bring your own camera) — will start at 5:30 p.m....

    April 11, 2014

  • Norman residents among those seeking to run for county, state offices in first day of filing

    Filing for county and state offices started Wednesday and continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday. A handful of Democrats and a trickle of Independents vye with a field heavy-laden with Republican candidates. There are few ...

    April 10, 2014

  • Fallin seeks aid for businesses affected by closure of memorial bridge

    Purcell business owner Greg Lucy wrote to the governor this week. Lucy owns Purcell Farm and Ranch Supply, a business that depends heavily on trade from Lexington and surrounding areas. The recent closure of the James C. Nance Memorial ...

    April 10, 2014