The City of Taft may have a budget that will be less than a week late this year, and city officials say it will be a balanced budget with no salary increases.

The City of Taft may have a budget that will be less than a week late this year, and city officials say it will be a balanced budget with no salary increases.
The city’s Finance Committee on Wednesday discussed the proposed budget for two hours and, with minor changes, recommended approval be placed on the July 6 City Council agenda.
The proposed budget will  be just over $6.5 million after about $60,000 in capitol expenditures were trimmed out and will include a transfer of just over $360,000 from reserves to cover some capital projects.
Two of the three members of the committee – Mayor Dave Noerr and Councilman Paul Linder – voted for the budget.
Treasurer Bill LeBarron was absent.
There are no raises in the budget, City Manager Bob Gorson said.
“This reflects the Council’s wishes,” he said. “There are no step increases or merit increases.”
Finance Director Teresa Statler said having a budget on time this year along with  including capital purchases in the budget will make it easier to keep track of spending.
The city didn’t have a budget for the current fiscal year until late winter as it held off on approval pending a grand jury investigation into the pay raise issue.
That, along with a policy of bringing each major capital purchase before the council created a bookkeeping nightmare, she said.
“Who knew where we stood? It was a nightmare,” Statler told the finance committee.
The  confusion over spending may have played a part in an exchange between Statler and City Attorney John Gibson the night before at a special council meeting.
The council was asked to pass a resolution to continue spending at the level from the previous year after July 1, normally a routine procedure since it legally can’t spend money in a new fiscal year without a continuing resolution place of a budget.
Gibson contended that since the city was apparently spending more money than it took in in 2009-10,  passing a resolution to continue spending at those levels would violate a city resolution requiring a balanced budget.
But Statler said since the budget approved by the council for the 2009-10 fiscal year was itself balanced, there would be no violation of the resolution.
The council voted 3-0 to pass the continuing resolution.