How would you grade the 2019 Draft Budget?
The City will hold a public hearing on August 13, 2018, at the Library regarding the 2019 Budget. You can see a copy of the proposed budget here: 2019 Draft Budget. If you cannot attend the public hearing, you can still be heard by providing your grade and comments through this Round Table topic.
Please, consider this before you do:
As you consider the proposed budget, here is some background information that you might find helpful:
The City received earlier this year a third-party financial review from an investment firm that praised the City for strong management, healthy cash balances, and budgetary flexibility. The review was critical of the City's weak economy, operating deficits in some funds, and only adequate budgetary performance. With this information the City Commission has been on a seven month process of reviewing all aspects of the budget, and the City decided on the following basic strategy: 1. Allow a sales tax to expire; 2. Develop clear project priorities going forward; 3. Focus on preservation and planning.
The project priorities are emerging as investment in infrastructure such as streets, water, and plans for the defaulted housing development and the future of downtown. In addition to this, the budget tries to preserve a number of quality of life amenities and community programs while also preserving critical equipment and human resources -- which includes the acquisition of a new fire truck.
To do this the City has to overcome an overall decrease in total value and significant deficits in water and sewer operations -- both impacting available revenue. This budget holds expenses relatively flat, preserves cash balances, stays under the state-mandated tax limit, funds community organizations, and would include a mill increase of 4 mills.