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In Truman: City budget balanced

June 19, 2012
Kylie Saari , Fairmont Sentinel

TRUMAN - Despite increased legal costs and reduced local government aid, the city of Truman managed to balance its 2011 budget, according to auditors.

The City Council heard their 2011 financial audit report Monday night.

Midway into last year, Truman learned the local government aid projection they initially anticipated would be lowered, forcing them to reduce their budget by $47,000.

In addition, the city was involved in an extended legal battle, which pushed it over budget by $13,000.

The budget was redeemed by a reimbursement of $167,586 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for expenses accrued from a flood in the fall of 2010. The city also placed a hold on capital projects in various departments.

Jerome Gerdts, with Roessler, Nuss, & Co., told the council many cities were forced to eliminate capital outlay, but that wasn't always enough.

"We did have a balanced budget," he said. "We were in the black. A lot of cities were in the red due to aid cuts."

In other business, council members heard the results of a survey of residents reporting their opinions on the town.

Aaron Clay, who volunteered his time to compile and report on the results, worked with Truman's economic development authority.

Residents were asked a variety of questions, ranging from how they would rate the quality of life, to if they take advantage of the public school system, to what they would like changed.

Clay said the 40 percent response rate was exceptional for this type of survey. The results included both positive responses and some criticism.

Eighty-seven percent of Truman's residents would like to see growth in the town, and 88 percent feel there are not enough jobs in town.

The council listened to the resident comments from the survey, including several requesting more action be taken on cleaning up blighted properties and working to retain businesses.

"Some people said they wanted a Target or Walmart," Clay said, "but that is ridiculous."

One topic addressed in the survey is a sensitive one to residents - where their police officers live.

The comments relayed a concern often brought up at council meetings: "The police need to live in town. I have called and had to wait for them to come from Fairmont. They never answer when you call; leaving a message is a joke." And "We are constantly living the old adage, 'When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.'"

All of Truman's police department live outside of city limits.

"The biggest takeaway is that [citizens] are proud and they want to see the town succeed," Clay said.



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