City Spending Increases Isolated to Three Areas

In our last report, Tallahassee Reports analyzed the expenditure trend of the City of Tallahassee’s $133,000,000 general fund over the period of 2005 to 2008.

The analysis indicated that expenditures over that period exceeded population growth to the tune of approximately $23 million. When adjusted for a inflation over that period, expenditures added approximately $12 million.

This report investigated what categories received the expenditures above and beyond population and inflation growth. The analysis indicated that three areas account for this increase in expenditures.

Personnel Services

Personnel services make up just less than 70% of the 2009 general fund budget. So it is not surprising to find that this category is the leader in explaining the increased expenditures over the 2005-2008 period.

Expenditures for 2008 for this category increased to $93.6 million from $88 million in 2005. However, the surprising fact is that over this period the number of full time employees decreased in 2008 to 1,154 from 1,200 in 2005.

These numbers reveal that in 2005, the city spent $73,962 per employee and in 2008 this expenditure was $81,183 per employee.  These expenditures include salaries, benefits, merit raises, human resources, personnel training and overtime. 

While the number of employees decreased over this three year period period, the expenditure per employee increased by about 10%.

Of the personnel service categories, salaries and health benefits were responsible for most of the increase in expenditures. For example, salaries increased from $49 million in 2005 to $52 million in 2008 and health benefits increased from $4.9 million to $5.9 million during the same time period.  

Star Metro

Monies from the general fund are contributed to the operations of several city functions that do not generate the revenue required to stand alone. In 2005, the general fund contributed approximately $5.5 million to Star Metro.  In 2008, these contributions increased to $7.6 million. This is a 38% increase over the the three year period and contributed significantly to the overall increase in general fund expenditures over this period.

Community Redevelopment Agencies

In 2005, the general fund contributed a total of $304,000 to community redevelopment projections. In 2008, this amount had increased to approximately $1.3 million. This 300% increase added $1 million to the general fund expenditures in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

In summary, the general fund spending beyond population and inflation growth from 2005 to 2008 in Tallahassee was directed towards salaries and health benefits for city personnel, the support of Star Metro, and community redevelopment projects.

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