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Public will get to give input on city budget

City Council members are giving residents a chance to have their say on next year's budget.

The council has scheduled a public hearing on the 2018-2019 budget for 6 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of Lawton City Hall, Southwest 9th and C. While some residents did take the opportunity to offer comments about the budget during the public comment portion of the May 8 regular council meeting, Thursday's session is dedicated to that activity. Traditionally, council members hold that comment period during a regular meeting, then usually move into the final phase of the budget process  approving the resolution that sets the document into place.

Reviews could still be conducted

Thursday's agenda has that opening, but it also authorizes action that could return the council to the budget review process, saying "after due consideration of the City Manager's proposals and citizens' input thereon, provide direction to finalize the budget or take action to approve the budget (with any revisions) by Resolution as deemed appropriate." Council members have not said whether they will approve the budget Thursday or vote to reopen budget reviews.

By state law, the budget must be approved seven days before the beginning of the new fiscal year (July 1), meaning the council has more than a month before next year's budget has to be set in place.

To date, the council is looking at an $89.11 million operating budget that is based on several factors, including a 2.7 percent increase in water, sewer and refuse rates (expected to generate an additional $886,612), taking twice-a-week residential trash collection to once a week (a calculated savings of $450,000 a year), a decrease in 11 general employee positions and delays in filling vacant or expected vacant general staff positions, merit increases for all employees, and a projected carryover (meaning, the amount of money that will be left on June 30, 2019) of about $115,000.

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK
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