IMPERIAL — City council members met and discussed the municipal budget for fiscal year 2019–2020 on Wednesday, May 29. Discussions centered around community events, recreation services, education, and safety issues.
Director of Community Services Ember Haller discussed the importance of library services offering literacy opportunities. The current budget is $60,000 and no significant impact has occurred recently.
“There is one thing we need to replace — the outdoor book return. It’s very rusted and jagged, so it does need to be replaced,” said Haller.
A public book exchange was discussed by council member Karin Eugenio, who envisions a free book exchange that can benefit the community as residents drop off and pick up books at parks in enclosed book drops.
Some of the recommendations included cutting Imperial Market Days events from nine to four; combining Market Days and the Christmas parade was recommended by Stefan Chatwin, city manager.
“If the Chamber of Commerce would like to do that on a business property where they want to do some kind of market, I don’t recommend we block off streets in downtown where guests are wondering where the pies are,” said Stefan. “They’re not distinguishing both events.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to combine three events in[to] one,” said Eugenio. “Three is too many; I wouldn’t want to compact it all in one.”
“We can have a parade earlier since the sun is down by 5 p.m., then from 7–9 p.m. we can have Market Days so people can grab some food. Other cities do it and it seems to work perfectly well,” said Darrell Pechtl. “We know we’re always going to lose money on Market Days; it’s to be able to provide services for the community.”
“How do we take those traditional events and keep it part of the city? Do we try something else?” asked Mayor Robert Amparano. “What do we do about ‘Christmas in a Small Town’? How do we bring that number down?”
“We understand the cost and we discussed this with the city that … the Parade of Light continues as is,” said Imperial Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Paradis. “When you break down events monthly, it comes about $12,000 according to budget. If you eliminated April, that’s a huge savings for the city. I think it’s just bigger than dollars.”
The proposed municipal budget for the fiscal year 2018–2019 is $303,814 after expenditures and the proposed budget for the upcoming adopted year of 2019–2020 is $291,802 after savings.