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Council approves FY budget

The Three Forks City Council approved the city’s 2022-23 fiscal year budget during its Aug. 23 meeting, planning for both big expenditures and cost savings.

City Clerk Crystal Turner told The Voice that many increases in the city budget resulted from over budgeting in 2021.

“We did not expend all the gas tax revenue received last year so we are budgeting to spend that, and this year’s allocation, in this fiscal year,” Turner said in an email.

During the meeting, the council discussed how projects budgeted for but not completed last year, such as the Capital Improvement Plan and an Impact Fee study.

“It kind of carried over this year to a higher budget anticipating we’ll get those projects done,” Turner said during the meeting.

This year the council also plans to chip seal in Street Maintenance District #1, yet another project carrying over from 2021 due to the high cost of oil, according to Turner.

The Headwaters Trail System will also receive some much needed attention in the form of sealing cracks and rebuilding a fence. The city has also selected a $67,145 bid from Yellowstone Pavement Solutions to complete the portion of trail from the Depot Museum to the Headwaters Golf Course

Council President and Headwaters Trail Department Head Gene Townsend said he was surprised by the cost of the bid, expecting a high bill. “What we will possibly do is do more work, because we have the funding to do it,” he told the council.

During construction, the trail will be blocked, but Townsend said patrons can still walk next to the trail.

Townsend abstained from the vote to select a bid for the Headwaters Trail System project.

Three Forks residents may also see improvements made to the Stevenson Park gazebo. After several cedar shingles fell off the shelter, Turner obtained quotes for the roof’s replacement. “The quotes are over $30k for replacement of cedar shakes, $11k for metal. Not sure we’ll do it, but if it is determined that the roof [is] leaking and not just cosmetic, we wanted to be able to repair/replace it if needed,” Turner told The Voice.

While many funds received budget increases, the Library will operate with $1,792 fewer in funding than last year. “They know that they’re spending some of their saved cash to make this budget work and that that can’t be something that we continue as a process,” Turner said during the meeting, adding that the library hopes to keep their trained staff and will purchase fewer books this year to remain within budget.

The city council will meet again on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.