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Jan 17, 2013 7:07 PM by David Jay

Billings starts work on budget

BILLINGS - The Billings City Council started the process of drafting the 2014 budget.
Council members and department heads met for a work session, on Wednesday at the Airport Operations Center.
Mayor Tom Hanel expects the process to take two to three months.
The meeting started with a list of accomplishments for the previous year.
"The city of Billings accomplished a great deal in 2012 as we did in 2011, 2010," Hanel said. "And we're expecting nothing different for the future years However, I will be the first to say, even though the city of Billings is doing very well, we're very financially healthy at the present time, we obviously are very concerned about future years and we want to manage those funds very carefully."
Hanel says the process can be very difficult, with 11 from the council working part time with the full-time city workers.
"Very sophisticated, very involved," Hanel said.
During the last few months, the council has discussed priority based budgeting, a process that Hanel says evaluates expenses in relation to services and then rates them.
It's too early in the budget process to know if there will be any cuts.
"We're going to have to find better, more (concise) ways of operating to be more efficient, " Hanel said. "We're just in the beginning stages. What may be eliminated.or reduced as far as services, we have not got to that point yet."

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