City approves $20.6 million budget

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

A 20.6 million budget was approved by the Tucumcari City Commission Tuesday night.

Included in the 2008-2009 budget are about $9 million in capital and infrastructure expenditures, said city Manager John Sutherland.
The projects include those at the city’s water treatment, new piping to bring in water from wells and lift stations.

Also included in the budget is a 5 percent raise for city employees, said city finance director Marty Garcia.

Last year, city employees received a 50-cents per hour increase compared to several previous years when no raises were given.
The city does pay 100 percent of an employee’s and an employee’s family member’s health insurance which costs the city $4.90 per hour per employee, Sutherland said.

The city also has budgeted to hire a risk manager, based on the recommendations of its insurer, Garcia said.

The city does not have a good safety program and its worker compensation rate is high, Sutherland said.

The risk manager would set into place safety programs, direct the expenditures of safety equipment and work with compliance, Sutherland said.
The hiring of a risk manager and subsequent improvements would also assist the city to reduce its insurance costs, Sutherland said.

Because of the city’s tight budget, commissioner Jimmy Sandoval suggested that the city invest in employee training because city employees were probably going to be called on to do more than one job.

“We won’t be able to hire in the future. The employees are going to need training,” Sandoval said.