Miami City Council members approved a near $30 million operational budget that administrators touted as the city's best effort in both fiscal responsibility and transparency.

With regard to responsibility, City Manager Huey Long said last week that the 2010-11 budget is the first balanced financial plan that the council has seen in many years. In terms of transparency, Long said the budget fully reflects all city expenditures.

The 2010-11 budget includes $36,849.843 in resources and includes a near $7 million reserve for restricted fund purposes, emergencies and shortfalls, according to a resolution approved by council members as they formally accepted the budget.

“It was not fun,” assistant city manager Tim Wilson said as he reflected upon this year's budget process as the city embraced the new Oklahoma Budget Act. “But we all learned a lot this year.”

Councilman Scott Trussler applauded the administration on its budget presentation.

“Knowing what we know now and what we did and didn't know before, I am pleased with the process,” Trussler said. “It is good to have clear roadmap. It (the new budget format) is an incredible tool that we did not have before.”

Mayor Brent Brassfield said the budget is “conservative” as it projects no growth in sales tax and reflects no proposed increase in water or electric sales. The budget does reflect a 7-percent increase in utility revenue due to a rate increase approved by the council earlier this year.

On the expenditure side, administrators estimated a 10-percent increase in insurance rates but projected no increase in gas rates. Additionally, no salary increases or cost of living allowances have been factored into the budget.

Maintenance and operation expenses are projected to decrease by 5 percent, according to budget director Jill Fitzgibbon, and no capital improvements are budget for the next fiscal year. The budget does reflect approximately $128,485 in lease payments for large purchases authorized in previous fiscal years.

In recent budget meetings, Long projected no need for large purchases, noting that the city had engaged in a number of capital expenditures in 2010 - to include a new ladder truck for the fire department and several vehicles.