Tonight Council met for the last of 3 previously scheduled budget workshop meetings and scheduled an additional 4th meeting for Thursday, May 11th from 3:00-5:00 PM.
Based on discussions in the two previous meetings as well as a number of meetings between City Staff, the City Administrator presented to Council a list of budget cuts as well as 5 options for a budget based on the information provided by Departments and Council.
Here are the highlights:
- Every budget option includes the following: a 3% salary increase; 8% health insurance increase; 2% retirement increase; moving $200,000 for infrastructure to be paid from the Sewer Bond; moving $200,000 for Fire Station #5 to be paid from General Fund Balance.
- 4 of the 5 options include a master lease and a General Obligation Bond (loan) to cover capital expenses (such as the proposed leaf and brush trucks).
- Of the 5 options, 3 result in a negative balance. The most conservative of those puts us $224,305 in the negative. The largest possible deficit would be -$879,023.
- Only 2 result in a positive balance.
- The 2 options that do not put us in the negative eliminate the brush/leaves/white goods supplementary service proposed by the other 3.
- For each option, we were provided with an adjustment based on a proposed tax increase of 3.292 mils. That would net the city an estimated $269,200. With that tax increase calculated in, only 3 options come out in the positive. 2 do not include the equipment and personnel for leaf/brush/white goods pickup. 1 option does provide for that service to be reinstated. That option eliminates any and all other personnel needs and also eliminates nearly half of our capital needs from the budget. And leaves us in the positive: we’ll have a very tight fit, with a $44, 895 surplus.
Note: I have previously indicated I do not support an increase in fees or taxes.
I have also said on numerous occasions, including in tonight’s meeting, that what we MUST have is a strategic plan–a long-term vision for the future of this city and a [measurable] plan to achieve it over the next 5, 10, 15 years. We still don’t have one. And so here we sit again at budget time making short-term solutions–smacking on Band-aids and hoping for the best. And that’s just not acceptable. We have to do better. Otherwise, we’ll be right back in the same boat next year trying to plug a different set of holes.