On Thursday, Jan. 4, the Woodward City Council met for the town’s budget discussion. The work session marked the first meeting of the year and a first to new City Council elects.

The budget meeting allows all department representatives or heads to budget and plan for the year’s spendings.

“We’ve made vast improvements in the last several years in getting accuracy in the budget up front,” said Woodward Mayor, Brian Devick. “What we really accomplished over the last several years is open communication.”

After addressing the deficit, the council went to work on ensuring a positive outcome with the finances.

With the addition of Local Options Sales Tax (LOST) in Woodward, the funds will be divided into three sections: 45 percent will go towards reducing the general debt related to the sewer lagoon improvements, 45 percent will go towards capital improvements and 10 percent is dedicated to parks and recreational as well as community improvements.

Local Option Sales Tax will be collected beginning in July.

“For the purposes of the Local Options Sales Tax, that money has to be determined by the council to be spent,” Devick explained to members.

The council discussed the possibility of shifting $5,000 dollars out of the Parks and Recreation for budgeting purposes.

In addition to reductions, other cutbacks included taking away $3,000 dollars in expenses from the previous mosquito control budget of $6,500.

“We had counted on the resource center and we had done that and they did not have us do that so we had leftover product and we can take that down,” said Public Works Supervisor, Chris Newland.

The Woodward Police Department also offered up $1,000 dollars of potential reductions to their budget.

While nothing is set in stone, Mayor Devick believes the discussion went well.

“What we’ve developed is a culture where we’re willing to work together,” Devick said.

All numbers are tentatively set; following the Thursday night work session, the council will again review budget requests, later publishing them to the public.

The Council will hold a meeting in February where the public is encouraged to voice their comments and concerns with the city’s plan before it is voted on and approved.

“It’s really important that what we do with that money is the right thing for the citizens,” Devick said.

The Woodward City Council will meet for a regular council session on Monday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.