Rogue River council ready to review budget

ROGUE RIVER — City Council members are scheduled tonight to have a final look at the city's $10.1 million budget for the coming year.

City officials hope several grant requests will bring in money for hiring another police officer and road improvements, but the budget year that begins July 1 will likely see little discretionary spending.

The council meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 133 Broadway.

Like most cash-strapped cities in Jackson County, Rogue River will focus on maintaining services and holding down spending, City Administrator Mark Reagles said.

Reagles said a project to double the city's water-storage capacity could be funded with grants, but the work will be done with reserve funds and a loan if the grant falls through because city residents need the water.

Funding for an additional police officer and several street projects will depend solely on grants, he said.

The total budget, $10,058,419, is down from the current year's $11.4 million because that budget included several million dollars in grant money for building a new bridge over Evans Creek. The proposed budget for the coming year includes just leftover funds for completion of the project.

While the water fund is larger than usual, $2 million of the $2,667,000 fund is slated for the water-storage project.

Reagles described the street fund as "dirt poor," with just $452,000. Street projects will probably be few and far between, including mostly crack sealing and patch jobs and $25,000 to replace a dangerous stretch of sidewalk in front of the city's community center.

"Our (city) council is pretty conservative," Reagles said. "They think there are some things cities should do — water, sewer and streets — so most of our attention and effort are set on those things. It's been tough, but we're probably going to be OK again this year.

"We're taking every possible opportunity to defer the things we can and fix things to make them last a little longer. Kind of like everyone is doing in their own home right now."

Mayor John Bond said he was "cautiously comfortable" with the proposed budget.

"I think it's an excellent budget, all things considered. We were able to, with this budget, provide necessary services for another year for our citizens," Bond said.

"We're going to watch our spending and see what the economy does," he said. "I think our budget accurately reflects the perception of the times."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at

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