The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Melissa Jenkins
Staff Writer 

Council continues town budget work


August 24, 2016

After several budget meetings, the Town of Whitehall is getting very close to having a final budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Mayor Dale Davis stated at a budget meeting Monday, “the goal is to get the budget closer to what is being spent.”

Davis suggested each of the Council members be assigned a page of the budget and come back to the next scheduled budget meeting, August 29, with more budget cuts.

A budget item that is not getting cut is employee wages for the six town employees. Alderman Tom Jenkin said, “You get what you pay for, if you want quality workers, you have to give them a decent wage”.

Town Clerk Treasurer Summer Fellows has been trying to clean up the budget to see what is actually spent, especially for wages.

“It needs broke down more,” Fellows said.

One item being seriously looked at is the benefits of having an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) System. Mayor Davis and two town employees recently looked at the current meters to figure out what the meters are reading, and what the actual water usage is. Public Works Employee Kory Klapan and Davis reported at the meeting that from May, 22 2016 to June, 22,2016, over 3 million gallons of water has been lost and not charged for.

According to Klapan, the town’s current meters are outdated about five years and just in the last nine months the town has replaced 26 to 27 meters. Klapan and Fellows also ran a check at the meeting for what is being lost in the winter months, and the results from December 22, 2015 to January 22, 2016 shows over 2 million gallons of water lost.

Town Council President Joe Adams said the Town has to replace those meters. Council member Francine Janik agreed it is about 1/3 of the water that is being lost. Adams said what the town makes up for in the loss in water should help the water budget about even out.

Many items on the budget are being cut to closely follow the expenditures of last fiscal year. While many departments will have the same budget as last year, such as the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Department, some will see an increase such as the solid waste department. Klapan said things like the roller on the packer, arm and different odds and ends will need replaced. Klapan added it would cost ½ as much to refurbish the town’s truck and get it fixed, and have the truck last for years.

“The current state the garbage truck is in, the town will only get a few years out of it” Klapan projected.


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