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Falconville: final

Big cuts have been made in the new budget proposal.
The Parks and Recreations Department, the ambulance services, the City Attorney and the Police Department’s budgets have all been lowered.
“We had to cut because of shrinking revenues and the fact that a dollar just won’t buy what it used to?, Mayor Henry Smith said.
The total budget recommended is at $2,1 million, compared to the $2,4 million budget from last year.
The most drastic cut that has been made concerns the Ambulance Services. Next years budget is down about 80 percent compared to last year. But this does not necessarily mean that the service will be less efficient.
“A private company is taking over the service?, the new City Administrator Joan Bell said. “People can expect better and faster service for less cost in the long run.?
Also the Recreation and the Police Departments will hurt budgetwise during the next year. The parks and recreation department will get 13 percent less. What this will mean for the department is still not certain.
“We’ll try not to lay off any full-timers, but many part-time positions will go unfilled?, the Director of Parks and Recreation Elaine Hultquist said. “We’ll be cutting things such as safe boating classes and free supervised nature walks.?
According to Joan Bell the City-sponsored recreation programs will have to be curtailed.
“Softball leagues will be self-supporting with more user fees?, she said. “Pool lifeguard hours will be cut back, and we’ll look hard at any activity that requires heavy insurance liability protection.?
The Mayor is concerned about these changes.
“We just can’t keep doing everything we’ve been doing. It’s too bad?, he said.
The operational division of the Police Department will be receiving about 10 percent less money next year. On the other hand, the salaries of the department will increase with five percent. Most of the other employee’s salaries will be raised with four percent.
The Duluth News Tribune tried to get in contact with the Police Chief Toby Wanamaker last night for a comment, but he was unavailable.

Recommendation to the editor:
I think that an additional story needs to be done on the new City Attorney. The decision to appoint Joan Bell as City Attorney was not exactly a surprise, but in the same respect, this means that the structure of the government is going through major changes. To transform the government into a City Administrator form will result in less day-to-day management by council members and a centralization of authority. This is important for the citizens of Falconville to know.