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City seeks citizen ideas, suggestions on budget deficit

WILLMAR -- The city of Willmar is asking citizens for ideas, suggestions and recommendations on how the City Council should handle a likely deficit in the 2009 budget.

Citizens will find the opportunity to comment by clicking on "Weigh in on state and city budget deficits'' found on the city's Web site at

The opportunity to comment was made available on Tuesday. All comments will be forwarded to City Administrator Michael Schmit. Comments will be considered as the council works through the affect of the likely loss of Local Government Aid (LGA) on the city budget, according to Schmit.

"We don't know what that final number is going to be until the Legislature makes some decisions, but we nevertheless are planning accordingly,'' he said.

The Web site says the city's budget was reduced at year end by $316,000 as a result of the governor's un-allotment of LGA. That loss of revenue was covered by 2008 revenues and reserves.

The state of Minnesota is now faced with additional significant deficits as it prepares its budget for the next biennium.

This will undoubtedly require additional LGA cuts to municipalities, the Web site says.

Under the governor's proposed budget, the city of Willmar would need to cut more than $400,000 from its 2009 budget. That amount would increase proportionately if the state's deficit continues to grow, according to the Web site.

The City Council is establishing priorities while it prepares eventual cuts. Generally speaking, city expenditures fall into the following categories:

- General government.

- Public safety.

- Public works.

- Library services.

- Capital improvements and equipment.

- Waste water treatment.

- Other charges.

- Debt redemption.

Schmit can be reached at 235-4913 or 214-5160 or email: