Evart makes cuts

2012-2013 fiscal year budget operating at $289,722 deficit

EVART — To balance the city budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year that begins in July, Evart City Council members will make cuts to positions or services.

The budget, which is currently in a $289,722 deficit must be balanced before the start of the new year.

The council held a work session March 12 to discuss the budget and potential cuts with City Manager Zack Szakacs. Another session will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 26. The public is invited to attend and share opinions.

“This is going to be the hardest budget the city has ever had to balance,” Szakacs said at the first special budget meeting.

After the session, Szakacs worked to propose a way to cut funds in certain areas to maintain the city’s operation.

“We do have a (proposed) balanced budget, which includes laying some people off,” Szakacs said.

Funds could be gained through an increase of the water and sewer rates or cuts from the police department, recreation program, Department of Public Works and many other areas.

The recreation department had a budget of $47,000 four years ago, and has since been cut to a budget of $8,400 and the position of recreation director has been eliminated. Volunteers now run the Little League sports program.

Chad Booher, member of the recreation committee, said at the council meeting Monday that if recreation programs were cut even further, children and parents would leave to community to play sports in other cities such as Mount Pleasant, Marion, or the Pine River area.

“Kids have to have something to do or these kids will leave town,” Booher said. “By the time these kids get to the age to play varsity sports, you’re (not) going to have (enough players).”

Szakacs proposed asking townships to unite to form a joint recreation authority, much like the newly formed Greater Reed City Recreation Authority.

Decisions will be made by the council at an upcoming council meeting. The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of The Depot.

In other business, the council:

  • set the water/sewer committee date for 5 p.m. on April 17 at the Evart City Hall;
  • decided to research an ordinance to control unwanted brush disposal in streets of other cities such as Cadillac and Mount Pleasant and come up with their own;
  • voted to abandon 10th street from addresses 705 to 728.