SOUTH OGDEN -- Tough departmental cuts throughout the city have helped South Ogden officials trim the general fund budget to a manageable figure, but they admit the hard work has just begun.
"Again I want to emphasize that this is preliminary and we're still going to be working on this as we go," City Manager Matt Dixon said. "Right now based on the numbers we put in, we have a balanced budget with a very small $5,000 surplus."
South Ogden projects $8,311,057 in general fund revenues for the 2011-12 fiscal year and cut anticipated expenditures to $8,305,817 -- helping meet one of the city's strategic objectives to present a balanced budget without using the general fund surplus.
"We asked each department to make the necessary cuts and every department without exception came forward and said, 'OK, here's what we can do to help balance that budget,' " Dixon said.
State mandates limit the amount of surplus funds cities can have in the general fund to no more than 18 percent and no less than 5, based on the ensuing year's revenue projections.
Council members agreed on 10 percent as a threshold for spending from the general fund and Dixon said the next step was to present a prioritized list of capital and other one-time projects each department requested to determine which would be funded.
Public works outlined examples of the difficult decisions facing officials in the form of work force reduction, no money for insect control, reduced beautification efforts in the city, foregoing smaller road projects, and minor fleet repair suspension unless it posed a safety threat.
"This is probably the most difficult budget year we have faced," Councilman John Bradley said. "We're right at the very beginning of that process and every expense now I believe is being scrutinized."
Dixon reiterated that department requests were one-time expenditures and capital projects and that none of the general fund balance would be used for "any expenditures that are ongoing."
"There's still quite a bit of analysis to be done to look at that fund balance because it's just a tough thing to really nail down especially when we still have several months left in the fiscal year," he said. "But we're going to go to work as staff and do that."