But sound fiscal planning in the city of Huron’s offices eliminates any need to rely on a monetary miracle to balance a budget.
Huron officials expect to create a $931,000 surplus, or year-over-year savings, in the city’s budget heading into 2014.
The city works with about $4 million a year in the everyday operating budget, funding services such as fire and police.
“We have a quarter of our operating expenditures in the bank,” Huron city manager Andy White said. “Under the worst financial catastrophe, if something happened, we have funds to manage the city’s budget”
Officials accomplished a major savings without laying off employees, reducing services, increasing taxes or creating additional debt in past years.
In fact, under White’s guidance, Huron has remained aggressive in starting and completing numerous community enhancement projects.
Among the major accomplishments in 2013:
• Constructing a 1.25-mile concrete path for bicyclists and walkers, running parallel to U.S. 6 and connecting Woodlands Intermediate School to Huron High School. The project totaled about $240,000.
• Widening Rye Beach Road near Sawmill Parkway to improve safety and accommodate traffic flow. The project totaled about $518,000.
• Developing a 600-foot pathway at the former ConAgra site. The project totaled about $146,000. Most of the funding for these projects came from grants or other partnerships city officials brokered with other governments, sparing Huron’s coffers from any major blows.
All enhancements circle back to Huron’s decade-long master plan — a $9 million undertaking aimed at luring businesses and residents to the city by linking several core city landmarks, parks and neighborhoods while highlighting waterfront features.
“It will allow us to plan for future needs for the city if we keep moving forward,” Huron councilman Brad Hartung said.
Huron’s 2014 budget piggybacks off various upgrades implemented this year, including continued development at the former ConAgra site.
“We’re containing costs while at the same time directing considerable effort and a very serious approach at infrastructure planning along with community and economic development” White said.
Huron, however, does face some challenges. The city’s total debt is roughly $3.2 million, mostly deriving from water and utility operations.
If the city can avoid creating any new debt, area taxpayers could pay off all existing obligations in about 10 years.