By J.R. SPARKE
HERINGTON — Herington City Commission member D.J. Neuberger was the only person to offer comments during a town hall meeting Thursday night about where municipal monies should be directed when a new budget is developed in coming weeks. He was among only six persons, including two newspaper media representatives, to attend the session at the Community Building.
City Manager Ron Strickland said he was disappointed at the turnout, but added he was not surprised.
He said people like to talk about the budget, but don't take advantage of opportunities to give their input about budgetary matters.
Strickland admitted there were other activities scheduled the same night in Herington. However, he said it was difficult this time of year to schedule a meeting during the evening hours and not have a schedule conflict with athletic and school events.
“You set a date and go with it,” the city manager said. “If persons are concerned, they'll make time to attend.”
The session started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted for 30 minutes.
Neuberger wasn't shy about making his thoughts known, noting he was present as a citizen of Herington rather than as a commissioner.
He wrote his budget concerns on a whiteboard. The items included: Repairing broken curbs and making the downtown area ADA compliant; fixing potholes in streets and developing a five-year street program; and operating a road maintainer on gravel streets at least once every 60 days.
Strickland had prepared an informational handout in which he explained how revenues are generated for the general fund, expenses for which general monies can be used and the workings of the utility funds (electric, water, sewer and storm water).
“The city has a limited amount of funds in which to support our local government,” Strickland said in the handout. (City) staff spreads the funds around to get the most for the funds available. We do this while keeping fees and taxes at a reasonable rate, so citizens can enjoy living in the community.”
The city manager also noted
there is an on-going effort to make improvements to the city's infrastructure in an effort to avoid “major overhauls”.
Also attending the meeting were Pat Moyer, Chief Financial Officer at the Herington Municipal Hospital, and Paula Strickland, the city manager's wife.