Billings city council members met in a work session to discuss a predicted $6 million 2020 budget shortfall in the general fund and public safety fund.
At the Monday meeting, council members worked to give city staff direction on three options that would work to cut about $3 million from the city’s general and public safety funds.
Council members voted to direct Billings city staff to move forward with gathering more information on what the budget would look like if the minimal and moderate cut options were adopted.
The caveat is with the minimal $3.3 million cut option. Council members directed City Administrator Chris Kukulski to come back with more of a financial break down about Parks District 1.
Currently, the parks budget is in the general fund for the amount of $3.5 million annually. In the minimal cut plan, City staff suggested moving those expenses out of the general fund and into the Parks District 1 assessment.
Since the elimination of the franchise fee on utility bills in 2019, the general fund has lost about $2.5 million annually. City staff suggested effectively removing the parks budget expenses out of the general fund to help the 2020 budget balance.
An increase in the assessment of Parks District 1 would cost the average homeowner $41 per year.
Council members will meet again June 17 to further discuss the 2020 budget.