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City looks for budget consultant

BY: Rikki Cason | December 08, 2012

The City of Lockport will be searching for a new way of completing their budget process. The Common Council approved a request for proposal for a consultant for the 2014 budget.

During the work session meeting, the council heard from Craig Speers, who was recommended to them.

Speers, a recent retiree, worked for the New York State Comptroller’s Office for 36 years. He told the council he has worked with many municipalities in the area, including Lewiston, Wilson and Porter, assisting them and giving advice on budget issues throughout the years.

He said if he were selected as consultant, he would take a “proactive” approach on the budget and make it be a year long “inclusive” process.

“The budget process has to be open,” said Speers, who would ideally begin working the budget numbers in May.

This meeting was a result of council members stating in the new year they would like to do the budget process differently than in years past.

“I believe we need to start budgeting earlier in the year — as recommended by NYCOM — so we have time to consider contractual negotiations, have greater discussion with department heads and get to a satisfactory resolution in the budget for everyone concerned,” said Alderwoman Anne McCaffrey. “This year we started in September and we didn’t have enough time.”

Members of the council said they would also like a candidate who had experience beyond Lockport, who knows how other municipalities budget processes work.

Council members also agreed “a new set of eyes” would be a benefit to the budget process.

The budget director position for this year was completed by former City Clerk Dick Mullaney, who signed a one-year consulting contract with the city after his retirement at the end of 2011.

The budget consultant RFP would take the place of the current budget director job, which $12,000 is budgeted. McCaffrey said depending on the candidate and qualifications they may consider spending more for the position.

If Mullaney would like to continue the budget duties in the future, he can submit a proposal.

The city would like the budget consultant to be in place in January.

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