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Council plans second budget workshop

City Council members will meet in special session today to continue their review of next year’s budget.

The meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Lawton City Hall, Southwest 9th and C.

The council is working toward finalizing the document that will guide expenditures and project revenues for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Unlike past years, this year’s budget doesn’t contain deep cuts in activities and personnel, due in large part to “found” money that the city’s finance staff identified after combing through all the city’s funds. The net result is a budget that is $9.5 million more than the existing year, or $99.27 million, City Manager Michael Cleghorn said.

While the funding is allowing the city to address critical needs — including 19 more staff members, increases in materials for the streets department, and capital outlay expenditures that are almost double the size of past years — Cleghorn warned that the increase is possible because of one-time funding. That means it won’t be available beyond the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

But, the money is allowing the city to address needs, such as an increased budget for streets materials and a new repair system change that will allow that division to focus on more traditional street repairs; and 13 new personnel needed for the new public safety facility, including 11 new jailers for the expanded city jail, when it opens in early 2020. Those personnel are funded in the last half of the fiscal year, meaning January through June 30. City general employees also are slated to receive their step (merit) pay increases for the second year in a row.

The Lawton Constitution

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