ROANOKE - Roanoke City Council is moving forward with a thin budget for fiscal year 2018.
The changes come in more than $4 million in funding, which the city is having to make up with cuts and new sources of revenue.
So far, the city has approved a new solid waste fee beginning next year, as well as a cut in funding for the Endowment for the Arts.
These cuts were not something any of Monday night's speakers wanted to hear, but the city says, the money has to come from somewhere.
City Council member Dr. David Trinkle says "This was a very tough budget year." He says it was the cut in funding to arts funding that was hard for him to swallow; "...The arts and cultural organizations provide education to our K through 12 kids. Tourists come here for that, Deschutes comes here for arts and culture, so it's jobs. I just think it's important to keep funding it."
The city cuts its funding for the endowment in half this year, down to $62,500 from the original $125,000.
It also cut requests for four new police positions, one fire position, eight social services positions, and two 911 call center positions. "How can we cut the personnel funding that we're cutting, how can we cut EMS, how can we cut fire and not also put this on-hold until we see whether the revenue is there?" said council member Ray Ferris.
Ferris says that amidst all the reductions, he's still sympathetic to the arts, but also offered an ominous message. "I am absolutely, 100 percent in favor of putting it back in, in its original $125,000, if the revenue projections turn out to be accurate, but if they're not accurate, this isn't the only thing that's going to get cut."
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