Liberty Lake council studies budget process

Discusses ways to lessen frustration

After a long and painful budget process at the end of last year, the Liberty Lake City Council discussed ways to make the process less frustrating for the 2012 budget.

Councilman David Crump said he liked the idea of each department head presenting an overview of its budget during the late summer or early fall and he would like quarterly updates.

“I don’t necessarily want a finely-tuned, orchestrated presentation from each department,” Crump said. He said he would like to hear what the mayor and the department head have been talking about.

Councilwoman Susan Schuler, who left a council meeting out of frustration last year, said she felt like the budget format changed a lot each week. She said she wants to make sure numbers the council has are “110 percent” accurate.

“I didn’t walk out to dump my responsibility (on the other council members),” she said. She wants to make sure council members feel confident in the information they have and the decisions they make.

“If our community is not confident in what we’re doing, then what are we doing up here?” she asked.

Councilwoman Cris Kaminskas said she was frustrated not to have the budget binders before Mayor Wendy Van Orman made her budget presentation to the council.

Kaminskas also noted that at one meeting, a few council members were out sick. During that meeting she had a list of questions and felt she received the answers from city staff. But at the next meeting, she felt members who missed the previous meeting didn’t do their homework, so the same questions were asked.

“We need to commit to putting in the time on our side as well,” she said.

The council will continue discussing the budget process in the coming months.

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