SIDNEY -- (August 22) The Sidney City Council and department managers met for a work session to look at the 2023-2024 budget.

City Manager David Scott started the meeting with a short history lesson, explaining how the city was impacted by the change from Cabela's to Bass Pro ownership. 

"In 2019 and 2020, the city took a huge full-value determination or assessed value dips I think the first year was like 12 percent, then 13 percent -- it was like 25 percent. We lost 25 percent of our city's full value. It was as Cabela's was closing up shop," Scott said this afternoon.

He said the City started making cuts in services, starting with seasonal and part-time workers, and reducing the amount of mowing done at parks and walkways. That was followed by the pandemic and related inflation.

"That time we went through some serious tax cuts, I mean, some serious service cuts. We reduced, almost everything. We got rid of part time staff at the library. We stopped mowing everything. Honestly, there's places we didn't even mow anymore because we were trying to cut down on seasonal employees to save money. Then we were hit with the pandemic, causing out-of-hand inflation, lag times for equipment, for repairs, for parts," Scott said.

He said supply lines have been impacted to some vehicles are still not available for more than a year after ordered.

Scott said the 2023-2024 fiscal year will show a reduction in the mill levy from .5746 to .5452.

"That's a significant reduction in the mill levy," he said.

Scott said the City will be seeking a 2.3 percent increase in its "ask."

He also noted that much of the city is seeing an increase in valuation.  It is the increase in valuation that led to the city proposing a reduction in the mill levy. He said there are two parts to the City's mill levy, the general fund. 

  The city council will be focusing on the budget in the September council meetings.

Scott also said he wants to include an across-the-board pay raise for city staff. Streets Superintendent Hank Radtke and Police Chief Joe Aikens said adjusting the pay scale will help in recruitment and retention.