On Monday, Dec. 16, we will present a briefing to City Council about closing out the FY19 budget year, which runs from July 2018 to June 2019, and is audited in the fall of 2019.
The approved budget called for nearly $292 million in expenditures with anticipated revenues of the same, with more than $204 million coming from local taxes and the remainder from a combination of state grants, fees, fines, and charges. Revenues actually outperformed projections, coming in at slightly more than $300 million. Similarly, expenditures were managed so as to come in well below revenues available. All total, this enabled the City’s reserve funds to be enhanced ahead of the projected pace (which is good for our credit ratings), dedicate additional funds toward capital projects, and absorb the entire cost of increased employee health insurance premiums (allowing employees to realize the full benefit of their nearly 3% pay increase).
What Did You Get for Your Money?
So what did $300 million buy? Most significantly, revenues collected paid the salaries of nearly 1,700 employees plus another 1,000-plus school employees. These are the teachers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, administrative assistants, clerks, attorneys, planners, librarians, maintenance workers, street crews, etc. that we rely upon to keep us safe and ensure our quality of life. Revenues also purchased the vehicles, computers, equipment and materials these folks rely upon to do their work.
Expenditures that helped the City advance on the Council’s strategic priorities included the completion and opening of the new Melrose Branch Library; completion of the next phase of Fallon Park Elementary School; resurfacing of dozens of neighborhood streets; progress on the improvements to Colonial Avenue; initiation of the replacement of Fire Station #7; and initiation of the first new transit facility in more than 30 years.
What Lies Ahead
As we begin preparations for the FY21 budget, we do so with a healthy local economy, a bit more resilient than we were just a few years ago. We still have many needs requiring greater attention— more street resurfacing, more drainage improvements, better park maintenance, etc.—but we are making some headway on each of these issues.
My commitment has been to advance on the Council’s strategic priorities by continuing to focus on regional/long-term opportunities such as growing the Innovation Corridor and expanding outdoor recreation attractions, while strengthening from within, ensuring each of neighborhoods and commercial corridors and districts are as strong as they can be, and that each of our families and residents have access to as much opportunity as possible. Further, I seek to promote an organization that does this by prioritizing our time, money, and attention; taking strategic actions; seeking and enhancing collaborative partnerships; innovating; and empowering our employees.
So together—with the financial support of our community, the clarity of priorities by our Council, and the dedication and commitment of our employees—we can work to continue to make our community as successful, safe, and healthy as it can be, and to offer as much access to opportunity as possible to everyone who calls it home, operates a business, studies, or visits. Together we can continue to ensure the Star City remains a strong and successful City.