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Russell City Council Approves 2019 Budget

Russell City Council 1-2-18The Russell City Council approved the 2019 City budget at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The 2019 budget maintains the same mill levy as 2018 according to City Manager Jon Quinday.

Quinday explained in a statement, due to declining valuation and rising operating expenses creating a budget deficit, the 2019 budget reduces City staffing by one full-time position and reduces one full-time position to part-time to eliminate that deficit. Direct support of Russell Main Street Inc., Russell Area Chamber of Commerce, Western Kansas Child Advocacy, Options Domestic Violence Services and the Ad Astra Music Festival are continued at 2018 funding levels.

Also Tuesday, the Council approved the City's capital improvement and equipment reserve plans for the next five years.

The Council also voted to move forward with applying for a Community Development Block Grant to replace waterlines under portions of Maple, St. John, Wisconsin, Grant and 5th Streets, along with a portion of Wichita Avenue.

The City is applying for $600,000 of funding. The total project cost is estimated to be nearly $1.5 million.

Corina Cox with the Northwest Kansas Planning and Development Commission of Hill City...

Northwest Kansas Planning and Development will serve as the grant administrator for the application.

Following the special meeting, the Council held its monthly work study session.

A water conservation and source development update was given. Recent rains have helped to maintain the City's water sources according to Quinday and City staff. Water exploration continues along the Saline River and the development process of the R9 Ranch is progressing.

A discussion was also held Tuesday regarding City employee health insurance. The City may consider switching from the State plan to a plan offered by Freedom Claims Management, Inc.

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