Budget Update: Passed

Tonight, Council adopted on second reading the FY 17/18 Budget.

The budget approved on first reading was amended as follows:

  1. To retain trash collection of one roll cart per business in the core central downtown business district only.  This is the area from where Garrison Rd. meets Main to Chancellor’s Park Ct. It includes only those businesses that are front-facing on Main, N. Main, S. Main, NE Main, or SE Main.  All other businesses previously receiving city trash pickup will be required to contract for private services. However, please note that the city will continue pickup for those other businesses until JULY 28th to allow more adequate time for them to make arrangements. 

Here’s my why: The businesses located in the core of the central business district have unique characteristics. This district is characterized by buildings that are located at the front of the property boundary so that only a sidewalk separates the building from the street. They are serviced in the rear by an alley that provides little or no parking because the buildings take up most of the lot. The City has encouraged the maintenance of some of these buildings in their current character and design by an overlay district. Therefore, there is no room for dumpsters that would be required for commercial solid waste pickup. Traffic would be increased in already cramped places where there is already a lot of pedestrian traffic if multiple trash services were collecting solid waste. Therefore, roll a waste container collection should continue to be provided by the city.

2. Retain trash collection services to mobile home parks and duplexes: one roll cart per unit. The only real why here is that these people have always received the service, and many are on limited incomes, and the park owners do not want to contract for services for their residents.

Here are the changes that we made to get there:

  • Charge the Mobile Park Home Owners for the PW fee ($34.00) for each unit within their park.
  • Charge the Duplex Owners for the PW fee ($34.00) for each unit within their parcel.
  • Charge per business the $34.00 PW fee.
  • Decrease Administrative Contingency fund by $30,000.
  • Decrease contribution to General Fund (reserve) by $22,168.

This budget represents one heck of a series of compromises. And I have my reservations about it.  In particular, I am very concerned about the long-term fiscal sustainability of these services.  These changes make this work this year–but next year these same funds aren’t guaranteed.  In my opinion, that’s no way to plan for the future.

But I’ve been calling for better long-term planning, for thinking beyond the current budget cycle, since I got elected.  And we’re not there. Still. I hope we will be by the first Saturday of January 2018 (more on that later).  In the meantime, look for upcoming opportunities to share what’s important to you with councilmembers and the City Administrator.  Because you should help lead the way for this long-term, strategic planning we need to get started.

In the meantime, the budget is DONE.

Read previous posts about the budget here.