Formal Budget Proposal Due Soon

After another marathon City Council meeting, the city’s executive team and its staff are poised to make final modifications to their departments’ budgets and prepare for the formal budget proposal later this month.
The July 11 meeting extended beyond midnight, but it finally allowed the presentations of the brand-new Capital Improvement Program as well as discussions regarding Crowell Public Library’s budget, the city’s contract for legal services and the modification of a position under City Manager Marcella Marlowe. The overall budget is set to be proposed at a study session on Friday, July 27.
Although the fiscal year formally began on July 1, a continuing appropriations measure approved by the City Council earlier this calendar year allowed day-to-day operational expenses to continue while freezing new projects and capital expenses to allow a two-month delay in formally approving the budget. This was to allow the largely new council and executive team the time to implement fiscal and policy decisions that were decided upon late last year and earlier this year.
Perhaps the most prominent of those decisions was the creation of the city’s first Capital Improvement Program, which kicks off with about $14 million in funding with a goal of bringing the city’s infrastructure up to snuff and preventing it from falling back into a cycle of deferred maintenance. Much of the current fiscal year will involve condition assessments of streets, utility lines and buildings, with projects to be considered the following fiscal year.
Budgeting this year also includes the makings of a five-year budget projection to help city officials have a better picture of what to expect long term for the city’s finances. As an example of its use, the projection currently assumes the loss of the city’s public safety parcel tax in next year’s election as a way of planning conservatively on the expenditure front.
According to Marlowe, the only question remaining concerns a hedge trimmer under consideration as a capital equipment purchase. If the council has minimal changes at the meeting later this month, it could theoretically introduce the budget for adoption at the same meeting, as opposed to waiting until the first August meeting to do so. The city has until the end of August to adopt the budget.

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