Thank you everyone who emailed, called, or stopped to talk about the City’s FY24 budget. I heard a wide range of views. It was a collaborative process where I felt supported by my fellow City Council members. We worked hard to find places that we thought the City could spend less. We didn’t agree on everything. If I recall correctly, I did support all proposed reductions in the budget. We ended at a tax rate of 53.97, which is 1.83 cents less than what was originally proposed. If you are interested in the details, please read below while referring to the Final FY24 Budget Reconciliation.
Tax Duplication: The staff found a few areas that were overlooked before with Tax Duplication that amounted to $106,418 in decreased spending.
Tree Fund Revenue to General Fund: Councilmember Honzak recommended that we spend $20,000 from the Tree Fund Revenue on the City’s Urban Forest Manager. I think that this makes sense since we don’t truly capture the cost of the Urban Forest Manager’s time in the $312 dollars per tree that we currently pay Casey Trees. In effect, a $20,000 decrease to General Fund spending.
Equipment Replacement Reserve Expenditure: Decrease: Recreation Bus from Large to Small: The City currently has two recreation buses, one large and one small. The City Council has recommended that we replace the large bus with a small bus that has a ramp/lift for wheelchair access. The large bus requires a CDL which no one in the Recreation Department has. This will decrease ERR spending on the large bus item to $20,000 (does not affect tax rate).
Equipment Replacement Reserve Expenditure: Decrease: Recreation Bus Small: Due to the low milage of the Small Recreation Bus, we have asked that it be delayed for another year. This will decrease ERR spending by $120,000 (does not affect tax rate).
Equipment Replacement Reserve Expenditure: Decrease: 2 Police vehicles. It seems to some Councilmembers that we are spending our Equipment Replacement Reserve faster than we can replenish it. This cut was in order to address that. This will decrease ERR spending by $140,000 (does not affect tax rate).
Equipment Replacement Reserve Expenditure: Decrease: Roll Off Trailer. It seems to me that if the Roll Off Trailer were to completely fall apart, we could rent one until a new one could be procured. Director Brathwaite thought that we could weather using the current one for another year. This will decrease ERR spending by $83,373 (does not affect tax rate)
Decrease in General Fund: Sustainability Department-PW: Program Cost Reduction by $40,000 and Salary & Fringe Reduction by $25,000. The proposed budget had an increase in offered salary by $25,000. We have decided to stay with the offered 2023 salary. I had proposed that we change the offered position from a Sustainability Manager to a Sustainability Coordinator. My thinking is that a smaller city like ours ought to offer more entry level positions. This was not ultimately the most supported proposal but we ended with a slightly bigger decrease in the Sustainability Department budget than there would have likely been with my proposal. Total decrease of $65,000.
Increase in General Fund: Snacks: I proposed a small budget for snacks. This will be so that once a month parents/guardians may come to the public comment period and will be given priority in speaking first. Babysitting will be offered for free by volunteer groups with snacks for children. Increased cost of $1,000.
Decrease in General Fund: Special Events & Programs (HCD Planning): When looking through the budget, I saw that we plan to spend $22,000 on this particular line item in FY 2023. An increase to $45,000 was more than doubling that so I proposed a smaller increase. This reduced the spending by $15,000.
Increase in General Fund: Part-Time Grant Coordinator to Full-Time: Councilmember Small suggested that we increase a part-time position that we are currently seeking to a full-time. This is so that our city can be more successful in acquiring grants as an outside revenue source. Increased cost of $52,000.
Increase in General Fund: This an increase in the Tax Rebate Incentive for low income residents. Increased cost of $35,000.
Decrease in General Fund: General Contingency by Staff a GF Revenue Reduction ($146,674-$145,109). Decrease of $1,565.
Decrease in General Fund: Bike Improvement moved to ARPA spending. Decrease of $40,000.
Decrease in General Fund: Metro Branch Trail City Match moved to ARPA fund. Decrease of $12,000
Decrease in General Fund: Maple Ave Connectivity Project City Match moved to ARPA fund. Decrease of $50,000.
Decrease in General Fund: New Hampshire Ave- City Match Fund-HCD moved to ARPA fund. Decrease of $61,200.
Decrease in General Fund: Neighborhood Comm Ctr Improvement-CIP moved to ARPA fund. Decrease of $57,457.
Speed Camera Fund to General Fund: We will use funds generated by speed cameras for Mobile Computers for the Police. Decrease of $25,000 from General Fund.
Speed Camera Fund to General Fund: We will use funds generated by speed cameras for Field Radio Equipment for the Police. Decrease of $37,500 from General Fund.
Decrease in General Fund: Public Space Management Plan Implementation. Decrease of $30,000.
Decrease in General Fund: Public Works Work Order Software. Staff found that this had been double counted as an expense. Decrease of $32,000.
Decrease in General Fund: 6 months hold on 3 vacant positions: Policy & Data Analyst, Building Maintenance Specialist, and Licensing Specialist. Decrease of $174,299.
Decrease in ARPA spending: Street Rehab and New Sidewalks. Decrease of $200,000 (does not affect tax rate).
Increase in ARPA spending: Bulletin Boards: In an effort to connect with more residents, especially those less reliant on electronic communication, we have recommended the installation of more city bulletin boards. Increase of $20,000 (does not affect tax rate).