CITY COUNCIL APPROVES FY ’21 BUDGET; $54 increase to the average homeowner and $37 for the average condominium.
The City Council has approved the FY ’21 draft budget presented by City management to be presented to the voters for final consideration on March 3.
City staff and the City Council worked very hard and with a sharp pencil to keep the increase in the proposed FY ‘21 budget to a bare minimum. The Council and the administration recognize the impact of rising taxes on residents so we worked hard to hold spending to a barely sustainable level. In the end the Council approved a 2.98% increase in the tax rate which translates into a $54 increase for the average home owner and $37 for the average owner of a condominium.
The vast majority of the City budget is non-discretionary, meaning that the City is obligated to pay the costs as presented. These non-discretionary items include contractual matters such as wages, salaries and benefits that are negotiated with our employee bargaining units, health care and pension contributions, fuel and insurance and a multitude of other fixed obligations.
What remains is discretionary spending – a very small part of the City budget – where restraint or even cuts must be endured. Paving, adding staff, buying books and improvements to our parks are examples of discretionary spending that can be reduced or even eliminated when budgets get tight. These discretionary programs are important to the City (think paving) but they are a small fraction of the overall budget so when cuts are made in these programs the impact can be minimal on the overall budget.
The point is that with so much of the City budget being a fixed obligation the more difficult it is to reduce spending in an impactful way. City staff and the Council believe that the balance that has been achieved respects the demands on taxpayer dollars yet still provides the level and quality of services that residents expect.