Dunsmuir city services threatened

Jeff Knebel

Dunsmuir City Councilors and members of the 2008 Tax Task Force are seeking input from residents on how the city should deal with shortfalls in the general fund.

City Councilors unanimously voted, during a regular city council meeting Friday, to authorize the Task Force Committee to conduct a by-mail survey to inform citizens about potential tax measures and collect and compile the data received.

Dunsmuir is dealing with significant shortfalls of revenue in the general fund that, as a result, may effect many essential city services that are at risk due to budget ramifications,  according to City Administrator Keith Anderson.

The Task Force, a citizen advisory committee, has developed options for citizens to consider in determining Dunsmuir’s future, Anderson said.

“This is not a tax measure that we’re sending out to people people, it is just a survey,” said Anderson. “There has been a lot of confusion with people this is a tax measure itself. We just want to know what people think and how they feel; their responses will help the city to make the best possible decision. We want to have the whole town involved in this.”

Potential tax measures that could result would effect services and property funded by the general fund.

“Dunsmuir has always received ‘general taxes’ through the state and county but that isn’t keeping up with increasing costs to operate the city,: Anderson said. “The city cannot accept general fund deficits.”

The general fund supports  the following services: law enforcement, fire, streets and roads, public buildings and grounds, health and welfare, community promotions, city council, city administrator, city clerk and treasurer, city attorney, planning, finance and administration, and building inspections.

Anderson said that the city held three town hall meetings in 2007 to address the issue of general fund revenues not covering expenditures.

Surveys have been mailed out to all residents who receive city utilities and are due back no latter than July 4. Surveys should be mailed to the 2008 Tax Task Force, P.O. Box 324, Dunsmuir, CA 96025. Pre-addressed, stamped envelopes will be enclosed.

Results from the survey will be compiled and presented at the next City Council meeting Friday, July 25, according to Anderson.

Airport Improvement Funding

Also during Friday’s meeting, city councilors authorized Finance Director Keith Anderson (also city administrator) to prepare and submit an application for a $7,600 state grant to be used as matching funds for a  recently received Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Grant.

The city council will apply for  California Department of Transportation funds to match the $304,000 FAA grant received in May for a Muni-Mott Airport improvement project.

The project is to extend the airport’s existing parallel taxiway, according to Anderson.

“The state and federal governments feel it is necessary to make these improvements and that they will increase airport safety,” he said.

During the meeting some audience members expressed concerns, protesting the city should not use city general funds for the project.

It was later clarified the definition of “grant” and that the city would use grant money for the project and not general fund monies.

New Planning Commissioner

Dunsmuir City Councilors appointed Cindy Foreman to the Dunsmuir Planning Commission during Friday Morning’s council meeting.

Foreman was sworn in by City Clerk Kathy Wilson.