Dornisch makes suggestion for handling upcoming budget

Even though official city budget discussions are not set to begin for another few months, the annual event was on the mind of Councilman Dick Dornisch during Monday evening's city council meeting. Dornisch said he wanted to remind council members of a proposal he made last year regarding an alternative approach to the city's budget. He began by reminding council members about the tedious nature of last fall's budget discussions. "Last year we were hammering on that thing toward the end, and we were discussing some sort of potential to arrive at a plan of working at it a little differently or thinking about it a little differently. We were going through line items and so on from the different departments, and at that time I had made a statement that most people seemed to express at least a modest amount of interest in," Dornisch said. Dornisch explained that he thought now was an appropriate time to bring the matter back up, given that council is "going to, very soon, be sitting down and trying to hammer [next year's budget] together." "[The suggestion] was to step back from the budget - all these line items and specifics - and take the amount of money that the city has to spend in a year's time, roughly, and put that in four quarters," Dornisch said. According to Dornisch, one quarter go would toward administration costs, one quarter would go the the City of St. Marys Police Department, and the remaining two quarters would be used for roads, sewers and similar areas. The move, Dornisch suggested, would make it so council was not questioning a department's need for a new vehicle or other materials. He said it would send the message to the city's departments that "You have this much amount of money, and you, as a department head, have to manage this money and spend it the way that you want."