At the City Commission meeting this week, city staff will provide commissioners with their first budget update for the 2014 cycle. The update will provide information on how the budget for 2013 is matching up with actual spending and a forecast of the 2014 General Fund. Information for the other funds, including electric and gas, will be provided at another time.
In terms of 2013, the update is highlighted by the fact that Star Metro will require an additional transfer of $1.2 million from the General Fund to cover an operating shortfall. The 2013 budget called for an $8.6 million transfer from the General Fund to Star Metro. This means the total transfer to operate Star Metro for 2013 will be approximately $9.8 million.
For 2014, the city staff projects General Fund revenues of $136 million and expenses of a $141 million. This adds up to a $5 million deficit. Expenses for 2013 are estimated to come in at $136 million.This means the City is expecting an additional $5 Million in spending for 2014.
Staff notes that the 2014 budget must account for pension rates that have increased by 3.3%, health insurance costs that have increased by 5%, ad valorem taxes that are flat, and the increasing costs to operate Star Metro. Also, the budget update states that the preliminary look at 2014 will ultimately be affected by such dynamic issues as union negotiations and national health care policy.
Staff is providing the update to the City Commission so that the elected officials can provide “additional input on budget priorities so these can be incorporated in the budget process.”
The City budget calendar for 2014 calls for the release of the proposed budget on June 7, 2013.