The COT press release on the 2012 budget reads:
“No increase proposed for millage rate – City Manager Anita Favors Thompson today released the recommended $724.9 million fiscal year 2012 budget for review and action by the Tallahassee City Commission. The proposed amount is $2 million less than the current year budget and reflects feedback received from the community during budget public meetings earlier this year.”
The above statement, while absolutely true, fails to mention a few details.
Notice the city manager compares one budget to a previous budget. This approach allows the City of Tallahassee to never address actual spending. Why not compare the 2012 budget to a full year of actual expenditures for 2010?
If you make this comparison, the result is much different than the information in the city’s press release. In fact, the 2012 budget proposes $40 million in new spending over 2010 actual expenditures.
What the City manager forgets to tell the community is that while the 2012 budget is $2 million less than last years budget, last years budget projected $179 million in fuel costs and this years budget projects $155 million in fuel costs! Doesn’t this mean that citizens of Tallahassee should experience a windfall of $24 million this year due to the crash of the natural gas market?
A more accurate statement would have been “the 2012 budget does not increase property taxes, but increases non-fuel spending by $40 million over actual expenditures for 2010.” In other words, non-fuel spending increased from $499 million in 2010 to $537 million in 2012, a 7.4% increase
Where is all the additional spending?
Tallahassee Reports compared the 2012 proposed budget with the actual non-fuel expenditures in 2010 in major fund categories and found the Electric fund increased by $19 million, the General Fund increased $6 million, the Sewer Fund increased $5 million, the Gas Fund increased $4 million, the Solid Waste Fund increased by $2 million, and the Fire Services increased by $2 million.
Tallahassee Reports also compared the Personnel Services category from 2010 with the 2012 proposed budget. This category includes all salaries and benefits for all city employees. For the major fund categories, Personnel services increased approximately 8.5% over 2010 levels. This translates into approximately $13 million in additional expenditures.