During a brief public budget hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the City Council approved a resolution adopting the final budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 at $47,674,147 and lowered the final operating and voted debt service ad valorem millage rate to 2.1038, a decrease of 2.74 percent from the tentative rate approved 10 days earlier.
In response to the city's three percent increase of sewer rates, approved during the council's morning session, Vice Mayor Mick Denham suggested adjusting the millage rate to accommodate the $165,000 generated through the escalated fee schedule.
Sylvia Edwards, the city's Finance Director, informed the council that $222,375 was available in the proposed budget for appropriation.
After some additional discussions, the council suggested appropriating $220,023 from the available funds. Denham made a motion to approve the adjusted budget and millage rate, which was seconded by Congress and adopted unanimously.
"I think that it's appropriate for this council, in economic times as it is, to lessen the burden on our citizens," said Denham. "We can alleviate that by lowering the millage rate."
Highlights of the adopted budget include:
City salaries remain flat for the fourth consecutive year.
Full-time employees have been reduced through attrition from 142 in FY2007 to 114 in FY2012 through attrition.
Paydown the city's pension plan's unfunded actuarial accrued liability (UAAL) by $3 million.
With the exception of the sewer rate, which will increase 3 percent, all other city fees have been held flat.
$3.2 million is allocated toward general government capital improvements. This includes $1.4 million of capital projects rolled over from the prior years and $1.8 million for new projects.
Although there was a short discussion of the city's goals for the upcoming year, introduced during their first public budget hearing on Sept. 10, a final document which identifies the newly-established goals - including work on both local and regional water quality, lingering redevelopment issues and developing a long-term Debt Early Retirement Plan and Facility Component Replacement Plan - will be returned at their next meeting on Oct. 4.