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Citys 2018 budget approved
Package includes, pay raises, three new police officers and two news firefighters
new deh city council budget pic web
Great Bend City Councilman Brock McPherson, right, consults with City Attorney Bob Suelter before signing the 2018 city budget following the budget hearing Monday night. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 Following a budget hearing at City Hall, the Great Bend City Council Monday night approved the city’s 2018 budget ordinance during its regular meeting at the Great Bend Events Center.

The regular meeting venue had been changed to accommodate an expected large crowd. But, it had already been publicized that the hearing would take place at the City Office so it couldn’t be moved.

During the hearing, Finance Director Shawna Schafer outlined the budget.

The nearly $26 million spending package includes $5,386,978 in property tax money, and is based on a mill levy of 51.875, up 3 mills from 2017. A mill is equal to one tax dollar levied for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.

The budget initially put before the council called for a lower mill rate that was up a tick from 48.5 in 2017. This was a dollar difference of $308,000, or 1.208 percent.

In addition to a 4 percent across-the-board pay raise for city employees, various infrastructure projects and other improvements, the preliminary budget included the addition of one new police officer and one new firefighter. However, as the session ended and before the budget was approved, council members decided to add two additional police officers and one additional firefighter.

This change added 3 mills to the plan. Since one mill is roughly equal to $100,000 for the city, this added $300,000 to the total.  

After the hearing and before moving to the Events Center, council members Brock McPherson, Dana Dawson, Vicki Berryman, Allene Owen and Mike Boys voted to adopt the budget and signed it. The final step was the ordinance, which was OKed at the regular meeting.

Following a three-and-a-half-hour work session July 10, the Great Bend City Council approved publishing the city’s budget for 2018. This followed a tour of city facilities and a council goals session.