At Wednesday nights City Commission meeting, city staff revealed that the City’s General Fund -which pays for core services – had a $3.6 million surplus after 3-months of operation in fiscal year 2016.
The finding was presented to City Commissioners by City Manager Rick Fernandez as part his new a budget process which will provide quarterly updates on the status of the City’s expenditures.
The report about the $3.6 million surplus follows a contentious budget process in 2015 which included a 13% property tax increase and an increase in fire service fees.
Also, in late 2016 it was revealed that the City’s enterprise funds had accumulated approximately $17 million in surpluses. The City kept all but $1 million of those surpluses.
What will happen to the $3.6 million surplus?
There was no proposal by staff to refund the surplus to taxpayers. However, staff recommended that the City Commission follow City policy which requires surpluses to be spent on capital projects. The City Commission concurred.
Staff reported to the Commission,
As previously indicated, the City’s Finance Policy requires that any year-end surpluses or revenues from one-time revenues be transferred to the capital improvement fund once the Deficiencies Fund is fully funded. It is recommended that during the fiscal year, unspent revenues in the general fund be transferred to the capital improvement fund in accordance with the Finance Policy.
Based on this approach, tax dollars that were designated in 2015 to be spent on police officers, will now be spent on capital projects in 2016.