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      How the Ottumwa City Budget is comprised

      The city budget. A lot of planning goes into the budget.

      It starts in late November, early December and this week Ottumwa City Administrator Joe Helfenberger has been sitting down with all of the department heads to put together what they need for the upcoming year.

      ??And he'll get input from the city council as far as what we would like to see for department head pay increases and people not covered by union contracts. What kind of increase the city council would like to see negotiated or given to those individuals,?? said Jeremy Weller, Ottumwa City Council member.

      And budgets are all about the money. Helfenberger said there are three things that are driving costs up.

      ??We have labor contracts, fuel and energy costs that continually rise but we're trying to hold the line on many things as possible to cut where we can and sometimes reorganize the way you provide a service helps,?? said Helfenberger.

      Helfenberger said the city budget will be around 65 or 70 million dollars and 12 to 13 million of those dollars come out of the general funds, or other sources of revenue.

      ??We're basically leveraging, for every dollar of tax money, we have another $4 included of non-tax money,?? said Helfenberger.

      The emphasis will be on street maintenance and reconstruction, sewer and bridges. Helfenberger said the number one complaint the city gets is street repair. They will be concentrating on street repairs in the most heavily trafficked areas.

      ??We're looking at the Pennsylvania Ave., we're looking at, there??s a couple of blocks on Church St. right before five corners that need to be finished, Quincy Drive area will be planned and done within the next couple of years. These are the high traffic areas of the community,?? said Helfenberger.

      New this year are budget workshops where members of the community can express their thoughts on the budget. Those dates are January 23 and February 11.

      There will be a public hearing on March 5 where the city budget will be approved.