Billings Approves 2014 Budget - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Billings Approves 2014 Budget

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BILLINGS -

The Billings City Council approved a multi-million dollar budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins in July.

The budget, termed by city officials as "conservative" and "austere", will provide for almost $260 million in spending. The city expects to take in almost $250 million.

According to City Administrator Tina Volek, the difference stems from various projects the city has planned. She said the city will tap into reserves that were set up specifically for the projects to make up the difference. It was mentioned during the meeting that ongoing negotiation with city workers could affect the 2014 budget.

One of the topics discussed during budget negotiations is the city's future financial health. Volek said during the meeting that the city could face the possibility of dipping into reserves to pay its workers.

"Any moneys that we spend or may need for salaries and so forth, if we take from those reserves...could affect our financial stability. It could affect our bond rating, and certainly could affect the future of Billings," said Mayor Tom Hanel.

"We do have at least three budget years that we know we have covered. that gives us ample time to look at our costs and our revenues, and make adjustments, and we will do that as necessary," said Volek.

In addition to the city budget, the council also agreed to a 2.6% increase in landfill fees, as well as a new landfill use agreement with several neighboring counties and towns.