East Bethel approves final 2013 budget and levy 2-1

The East Bethel City Council approved the city’s final 2013 budget and levy Dec. 5.

The final general fund budget is $47,090 lower than the preliminary budget adopted in September. And although the 2013 levy was originally proposed to increase slightly over the current year’s, the final total levy of $4,452,955 actually reflects a .97 percent decrease over 2012.

Of the three councilmembers whom were present at the Dec. 5 meeting, Councilmembers Robert DeRoche and Heidi Moegerle voted in favor of the final budget and levy; Councilmember Steve Voss voted against both.

When asked after the meeting why he had voted no, Voss said he had been in favor of the originally proposed 2013 budget approved in September.

The preliminary budget “would have had a very modest increase to cover our costs for wage increases, slight increase in our cost of the sheriff’s contract and other minor increases,” Voss said via email.

“The city staff did a terrific job at creating the [original] proposed 2013 budget, only to be accused by the mayor [Richard Lawrence] in an open meeting to be wasteful.”

Lawrence has insisted several times that the city carve its budget down so there would be a zero increase for 2013. The resulting budget cuts “partially defunded the parks budget and eliminated the trails funding,” said Voss. “Both issues I disagreed with.”