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City council votes to augment FY ’24 budget

Keeping up with the comings and goings of city government can sometimes seem to be a never-ending stream of following things that are said in public meetings. But sometimes there are big local issues that get addressed without any discussion.

For those who are not politics junkies, this is what is known as the “consent agenda.” The idea is to save time to focus on the big items. In general, it means grouping routine items into a single vote.

For example, approving the minutes of the last meeting is always a part of the consent agenda.

While the individual items to be consented to are listed in the agenda with all of the same staff reports and addendum attached as any other item, there is no discussion.

And, sometimes, those can be pretty big money items.

In Boulder City, those big-money items are generally not anything that comes out of the actual city budget. The city has a bench of agreements with other entities ranging from other cities to the Regional Transportation Commission and most of the money items concern these entities. Another example: much, if not most, of the funding for road improvements actually comes from the RTC and those expenses are routinely part of the consent agenda.

But occasionally, there is something that is neither routine nor low-dollar. Which is the case this week as the council voted to approve two items that will set the actual city budget back close to $1 million without discussion as part of the consent agenda.

The biggest of those is part of a collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters. It’s not really the expense it appears to be, though.

“When the budget was passed, the wages with Electrical were not yet settled. This item will augment the budget to match the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was agreed to after a public hearing and approved by city council,” said acting city manager Michael Mays.

In other words, this is actually for last year’s budget. The agreement with the Teamsters was for a time period stretching back to July of 2022, but it did not get ratified and approved by the council until May of this year.

The retroactive costs of the new contract, between wages and benefits, was almost $600,000 ($461,055.86 in salary and $134,975.98 in benefits for a total of $596,031.84, to be exact). But the budget for the all-but-over fiscal year 2024 budget (the FY 2025 budget starts on July 1), was passed and did not reflect those costs.

So this is more of a bookkeeping matter than anything else. It is a way of retroactively making last year’s budget line up with actual costs which were not known when the budget was prepared and passed.

The other item, which brings the total up to close to $1 million ($931,106.84 to be exact) is actual spending but it was approved by the council as part of this year’s budget. The item is more about just approving the final contract.

The police department has been using Flex’s Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system through the state of Nevada as its host agency for 12 years. Due to limitations in the current software setup, city staff spent several months researching and reviewing other CAD system options.

“After careful review, the police department found an option that provides the necessary software and systems operations that will benefit the police department and fire department’s current needs,” Mays said. “The purchase will allow the city to have their own dedicated CAD server, which will alleviate down time and provide seamless dispatching services to the police and fire department. This solution will allow Boulder City dispatch to provide uninterrupted, critical emergency response services to the city.”

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