The City’s Proposed 2020 Budget
If I were having a drink with my wife Sue before dinner and casually said, “Our budget for next year shows income of $100,000 and expenses of $111,000. I’ll take the shortfall out of savings,” dinner would get cold.
This is the City Manager’s proposed 2020 budget. On an operating basis — income minus expenses — there’s a cash shortfall of $3,932,800, 11% of revenues.
In fairness, $1,750,000 of the shortfall can be attributed to applying earlier positive cash flow to deferred maintenance, leaving a shortfall of $2,182,800.
The problem is that while the shortfall is $2,182,800, the increase in salaries and employee benefits, recurring expenses, totals $2,572,286.
To fund the shortfall and break even on an operating basis, the 2020 budget would require an increase in property taxes of 8.7%, almost five times the increase in the 2019 cost of living.
This is the first budget prepared by our new City Manager, who formerly headed the City’s Finance Committee and enjoys a good reputation for numbers but had no prior government experience.
There’s enough cash in the City’s piggy bank for the City Manager and the Council to do this again in the 2021 budget, but when the piggy bank runs out, we will be looking at close to an 11% increase in taxes.
Real estate agents take note.
There aren’t but three possibilities going forward: reduce expenses, raise taxes, find other sources of revenue.
Over the last seventeen months, on six separate occasions, I have urged the Council to pursue other sources of revenue and suggested possibilities.
To date, Nil, Nada, Zilch.
We need change.
- Gerry Seitz