After numerous budget workshops, town hall meetings, recommendations from citizens, and city commission votes, the City staff released the budget that City Commissioner’s will consider at the last scheduled public hearing tomorrow at 6:oo pm.
And guess what?
The latest proposal spends more money than the original budget proposed by the City Manger back in June which included a 27% property tax increase.
How is that possible you say? After the cuts in pay raises and the BP settlement money, one would think the spending would go down.
That did not happen.
Here are the facts.
The original budget proposed by City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson called for spending $704 million in operations. The budget released today calls for spending $706 million.
What is driving the increase?
TR has determined that savings in the general fund, of about $2 million, has been surpassed by a $2 million increase in sewer fund expenditures and a $1.2 million transfer from the general government deficiency fund to pay for the recently awarded COPS grant.
That leaves an increase of about $1 million that is unexplained at this time. TR is investigating.
The use of the deficiency funds to pay for recurring expenses goes against the positions that Mayor Gillum and Commissioner Ziffer have taken at commission meetings and in public forums.
The original capital budget proposed by the City Manager called for spending $143.4 million. The capital budget released today calls for spending $145.0 million.
TR is looking into the reason for the capital budget increase.