By Cameron Rasmusson
The Sandpoint City Council approved a budget Wednesday night with total expenditures amounting to $44,538,939.
The final budget is the result of months of work, with additional fine-tuning in a council workshop readying the financial plan for passage this week. It revolves around the theme “a framework for the future,” with projects targeting five top-priority goals: responsive government, resilient economy, sustainable environment, vibrant culture and livable community.
The budget further specifies 16 priorities fitting into those five broader goals. These include: refining city codes, expanding citizen engagement, embracing performance management and continuous improvement, refreshing commissions and advisory group charters, optimizing storm water management, optimizing fire protection, optimizing police services, strengthening financial forecasting, diversifying housing mix, considering the acquisition of the University of Idaho Boyer property, completing the renovation of Memorial Field and sports complexes, updating the city’s comprehensive plan, completing a watershed management master plan and developing master plans for downtown revitalization, the arts and infrastructure.
The council passed the budget with little controversy or discussion. In a public comment period prior to the vote, the only feedback came from Sandpoint business owner Anita Aurit, who worried about the growth of the budget but praised the city for the openness of the process.
“(The budget size is) a little concerning, but … I do greatly appreciate that transparency is coming in,” she said.