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City Council meets with Department Heads During pre-Budget Talks

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City of Homer

This year, the city of Homer will shift fiscal years from its former January 1 start date to July first. The city operates on a two-year budget, and planning is underway. First-year City Manager Rob Dumouchel walked the city council through the administration needs yesterday evening during the first of several planned budget work sessions.
    “Really, this is about getting feedback from council. You know, we want to hear your ideas,” he said.
    One recurring topic in the presentation was the projected need for using more outside professional services to fill gaps on the city’s small staff, but Councilmember Heath Smith wanted more detail from Dumouchel on how contractors might be used.
     “When I came here, I was kind of surprised at how much it's not used,” Dumouchel said. “So I don't have a ton of examples and I could work with other department and division leaders to give you a better idea of what we've used it for in the past.”
    Dumouchel also suggested adding software to assist the limited city staff. In the personnel department for example, a new system would help make employee evaluations more timely and consistent. Human Resources Director Andrea Browning described how the software under consideration would help in her one-person department.
     “So it really is kind of like an assistant for me since I'm a division of one,” she said.
    Dumouchel said the city’s IT Department is moving from the human resources department to the library to join its dedicated technician. Library Director Dave Berry spoke to how important the library’s online and wifi services have become.
    “I'm looking out my window right now,” he said via Zoom. “The parking lot is half full of people on the wifi right now. The wifi by the way, has been a godsend for the community. People are so happy to have that outside. I think it's going to be an increasing thing and COVID has just accelerated it.”
    Community Recreation Manager Mike Illg expressed his appreciation to the council for holding the pre-budget meetings.
    “Thanks for doing this format,” Illg said. “I think it’s long overdue for the city council to work with the administration heads. So I really appreciate it.”
    The mayor thanked the council as well.
    Dumouchel said he will check with the city clerk and finance director on scheduling round two of the meetings.

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