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Central Point budget reflects overall decrease of $3 million

CENTRAL POINT — Central Point City Council members will review a proposed $26.9 million budget tonight; but despite the big number, the city's finance director doesn't expect any fireworks.

All told, the budget shows a $3 million decrease from the 2011-12 budget, due to loan funds that were in that budget to pay for a 3 million gallon water reservoir project alongside Don Jones Memorial Park on Hamrick Road.

Finance Director Bev Adams said the city the budget offers little excitement but shows the city maintaining needed services without an increase in taxes.

The budget message includes a nod to the Beatles song "Getting Better," with the phrase, "You've got to admit, it's getting better..." as a budget message title for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

"We're treading water, which can be pretty boring, but we are really thankful for that with the economy the way that it's been," Adams said.

"This year's budget is very comparable to previous years."

Adams said a handful of projects, including capital projects such as the water reservoir, and a slew of events would keep city staff busy and keep the city on a positive trek.

While the city is experiencing nowhere near the record development levels of the beginning of the millennium, Adams said, it is seeing signs of economic recovery and eventual growth, with a number of new commercial projects and even some residential.

A focal point for the budget committee was to avoid increases for taxpayers while maintaining service levels.

"The main points of our whole budget message are that, one, we're not increasing taxes and, two, that we have not cut services," said Adams.

As is the case with most cities; personnel and materials and services make up nearly half of the city budget at $7.5 million for personnel and $6.88 million for materials and services.

Next in line, capital outlay, this year, is set at $4.5 million, which includes $1.5 million for the water reservoir project; $1.5 million for a water line along Beebe Road; $420,000 for a water line at Front Street; and $400,000 for Highway 99 beautification as part of the Front Street redesign project.

Adams said city residents should expect water rates to go up 4 to 5 percent this year.

"We are supposed to raise it every year according to our rate study — usually in January or February. This year we didn't do it yet because we wanted to update our rate study."

Between the general fund and tourism dollars, the city helps to support and/or sponsor a host of events during the year, including a tourism guide, Fourth of July festivities, the summer fair at the Jackson County Expo, the Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo and Battle of the Bones BBQ event.

"Even though we're really holding the line and being conservative, we still are doing some neat things," said Adams.

"It's not an exciting budget, but we are continuing to be very creative at doing more and more with less than we've had in years past."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at buffypollock@juno.com.