July 28, 2016

City feels oil price slump

By Jerry W. Kram

The city of New Town will have to do some belt tightening next year as declining oil prices have already put a major squeeze on this year’s city revenues.

City Auditor Eileen Zaun told the city council at its regular meeting that New Town will likely get $1 million less in oil money by the end of this year than it did last year. The council will start working on the city’s 2017 budget over the next couple of meetings, so Zaun wanted make sure they understood the situation.

Zaun added that this year’s budget wasn’t in bad shape despite the shortfall. The city caught a break when a major construction project, the sanitary sewer system trunk line that will serve the west side of of New Town, came in with a bid about $1.2 million under budget. Zaun said with that savings, the city has enough reserves on hand that it should be able to balance the books at the end of 2016, although there may have to be some cuts in the next few months. But with the prospect of lower oil prices going forward, Zaun said that the council will need to keep a close eye on spending next year.


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