Wilson city council members unanimously approved a budget for the 2017 - 2018 fiscal year at the end of May with no cuts, but also no room for growth.
Wilson is one of the first area municipalities to approve its budget for the upcoming year. The bare-bones budget is just the essentials, with little to no room for extra projects, Wilson Mayor Frank Schaaf said.
“This is probably the earliest we’ve done it,” Schaaf said. “It’s a skeleton budget this year, but there aren’t any cuts from last year.”
The council voted to approve the $886,000 budget May 25, during its monthly meeting. Schaaf said the reason Wilson beats many of the municipalities in the area is because he starts on his budget early in January.
Though Wilson doesn’t plan to tackle any large projects, there are plans to pave a few streets this fiscal year, along with regular maintenance.
Schaaf said he hopes state budget cuts to road construction don’t impact any of the projects near Wilson, but he can’t be sure. The state cuts included slashing $100 million from road funds, $53 million from the maintenance and operation revolving fund, and $50 million from the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges program.
The strain on funds also comes just a year after the Oklahoma Department of Justice closed the inmate work release center in Wilson. Wilson used the inmates to contract out many of its maintenance projects. Schaff said Wilson was able to save around $40,000 annually using inmates, instead of full-time workers. For a municipality like Wilson, that means five percent of its annual budget must now be spent on maintenance such as mowing city property, trimming trees, cleaning up trash and similar tasks.
“It’s frustrating because we could have utilized that $40,000 somewhere else,” Schaaf said