Fiscal Year 2022 Draft Budget
An overview of the draft FY22 General Fund Budget was presented to the City Council at their meeting on Dec. 21st. The budget, along with the Enterprise Accounts for Water, Stormwater, and Sewer, will be further discussed at the next City Council meeting on January 4th.
The proposed budget is less than a 1% increase- proposed at a 0.98% increase in the tax rate. It assumes a 1% growth in the Grand List as projected by the City Assessor, understanding that the real Grand List numbers will change once the reappraisal is complete- but this provides the only true measure of how residents can determine what the impact of this budget will have on their taxes at this point in time, and how it compares to recent budgets. Based on what is being proposed, what that means to the average taxpayer is an increase of $13.01 for the year on a condo, and an $18.76 increase for the year to the average homeowner.
The total increase in expenses in the General Fund is just under $146,000, but revenue is down almost $262,000, largely due to the impact with a reduction in what is projected for the Local Options Taxes.
- Expense factors range from a number of cost drivers. All told, these items alone account for nearly $1.3 Million in costs, and these include:
Agreements with Bargaining Units
- Health Insurance & Pension increases
- Workers Comp & Property tax & liability increases
- Reduction in interest on investments (bank rate has fallen from over 2% to .25% this year and not expected to rebound quickly)
- Increase in funding needed for the opening of the new Library
- Reduction in revenue for the Local Options Tax as mentioned previously
There are several additional cuts proposed in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) since originally presented to City Council on December 7th:
- Paving from $750,000 to $700,000
- DPW Fleet from $250,000 to $225,000
- Tree Care from $100,000 to $50,000- Emerald Ash Bore
- Another vehicle was cut from Police but will be funded through the drug forfeiture grant. This brings Police vehicles from $110,000 to $96,000 including fit-up of the vehicles.
- Another $2,000 was cut from Police Dept. Computers/IT.
On the revenue side, the City is conservatively projecting a 1% growth in the Grand List; City Clerk revenue remains high for recording fees and vital records;
the city has an additional tenant at Gregory Dr., and the City now owns the building; the Fire Dept. anticipates being able to maintain the fire inspection fees and increase the revenue in ambulance fees; and the City also retired the debt that was due on the Public Works Building- about $100,000 in principal & interest.
These revenues unfortunately won’t outweigh the additional expenses, so significant cuts were necessary. These have included:
- Additional cuts to the Capital Improvement Plan, and cuts to various line items as noted in the General Fund
- Cuts to both the designated and undesignated reserve funds
- A number of staff positions will not be filled. The City has already had a reduction in force of one position. Additionally, the following positions have either opened up since the Pandemic, or were approved positions in the FY21 budget that have not been filled, and are not included in the FY22 Budget. These include 1 Patrol Officer, 1 Firefighter, City Planner, Deputy Finance Officer, Parks Laborer, and Benefits Administrator. Additionally, four other positions are proposed to merge to two shared positions. These decisions have not come easy and have been carefully examined and reviewed by City Management with Department Managers. This will have an impact on the level of service from departments, some more than others.
Both the Capital Improvement Plan public hearing and the General Fund, Special Funds, and Enterprise Funds budgets are planned to be discussed at the Jan. 4th meeting. The public is invited, welcome, and encouraged to attend and if you’re interested in virtually attending the meeting on January 4th .
Interactive Online Meeting (audio & video)- click on the link below at the time of the meeting (6:30 pm) on Monday evening, January 4th: