SALEM Budget error to be fixed

The city will take bids later this month for improvements to East State Street.
SALEM -- An error discovered at the last minute is forcing officials to juggle figures so the city's 2002 budget is balanced.
City council decided Wednesday to submit a temporary budget of nearly $4.1 million to the state.
In coming weeks, officials will revise the budget to account for an error in their calculations that created a nearly $200,000 deficit in the spending plan, which was to be adopted Wednesday.
The mistake was discovered late last week.
Department omitted: A last-minute review of figures revealed that officials didn't factor into the 2002 budget the estimated $200,000 it will cost to run the income tax department this year, explained Councilwoman Nancy Cope, R-at large, the city's finance committee chairwoman.
Until the budget is revised to account for that, department heads are being cautioned to spend only what is absolutely necessary.
Dealing with deficit: It's possible the deficit can be erased by taking money from a nearly $2 million investment account, Cope added.
Another solution may lie in altering the way city income tax revenue is shared. Until Wednesday's meeting, 60 percent of the tax revenue went to the general fund and 40 percent to the capital improvements fund, but council voted to change the allocation to 65 percent for the general fund and 35 percent for capital improvements.
In 2001, the 1 percent income tax produced about $3.7 million.
Road project: Bids will be opened Jan. 25 for a nearly $1.4 million project to improve traffic flow and motorists' safety on East State Street where it passes through the commercial district on Salem's east side.
The state has released its nearly $765,000 share of the project, service Director Joe Julian told council.
The project will include adding a turning lane to the street and lowering a hill over which it passes, which will improve motorists' ability to see other traffic and reduce accidents.
Construction is expected to begin later this year.

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