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Council Meets On Budget
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A special budget workshop session is set for Monday, July 13 at 6 p.m. for the Escalon City Council, meeting in the Escalon Library's Ekholm (Community) Room.

"We certainly want the budget adopted by the end of the month," City Manager Greg Greeson said.

Negotiations continue with employee groups as the city works toward adopting a budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year that started July 1. This is the first time in recent memory that the city has started a new fiscal year without an adopted budget in effect.

"We ran it by our city attorney and we're still able to pay the bills," Greeson said of starting the fiscal year without a budget in place.

There won't be any IOUs coming out of Escalon, which can operate 'as if' while the budget numbers are still falling into place.

Greeson said the Monday night workshop will hopefully be the final one required this year, with hoped for adoption of the budget at the regular council meeting on Monday, July 20.

"I'll have a power point presentation," Greeson said of the plans for Monday's workshop. "I'll review and explain the budget."

Council members have so far been reluctant to dip into reserves to help make up a budget shortfall this year due to the downturn in the economy, equating to less money coming in from sales and property taxes. But that has led to extended negotiations with employee groups, as concessions are being sought in other areas to take up the slack. All training except that which is required has been cut, fewer conferences are on the schedule and only equipment that absolutely has to be replaced is being funded this year. All departments are tightening their belts, as the city braces for a tough year.

In other city business during the coming week, the City of Escalon Planning Commission is hosting a public hearing on Tuesday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the library to take comments and hear reports on an exemption for placing a 140 feet tall communications tower near the under construction police building at 2040 McHenry Avenue. The tower and standby generator will accompany new dispatching and computer equipment for the police department once it relocates from the downtown area to McHenry.