Despite $3 Million Increase in Taxes and Fees, City Staff to Present $4.5 Million Budget Deficit for FY2018

Despite $3 Million Increase in Taxes and Fees, City Staff to Present $4.5 Million Budget Deficit for FY2018

Less than two years after voting for a 13% property tax increase and a year after a 2.3% property tax decrease, the City of Tallahassee professional staff will present the City Commission with a proposed budget that is $4.5 million in the hole for fiscal year 2018.

The budget workshop presentation, scheduled for next week, will also include projections that show budget deficits of approximately $4 million for the next five years.

The proposed budget deficit for 2018 comes after taking into consideration a $3 million increase in property taxes, fees and utility transfers for fiscal year 2018.

The largest contributor to the general fund budget shortfall in 2018 is personnel services, with an increase of $4.9 million, which is 5.8% over fiscal year 2017.

This increase is driven by 3.0% merit increase ($1.8 million), increases in the pension cost for employees ($2.5 million) and an estimated increase of 5% in health costs ($520,000). When comparing revenues to expenditures, expenditures exceed revenues by $4.5 million.

The agenda item states:

Based upon a broad set of assumptions that are described in this item, preliminary estimates for the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) currently estimate that general fund expenditures exceed revenues by $4.5 million.  Staff is seeking guidance and direction from the City Commission regarding conceptual approaches and options available to close this gap while continuing to look at efficiencies that have been gained from the two City Manager reorganizations, while maintaining or improving upon service levels and priorities.

However, the city staff informs the elected officials that the “efficiencies implemented in FY 2016 and FY 2017 already provided opportunities for cost savings, and these have been included in projections for FY 2018.”

The city staff reports that property taxes will increase  $1.4 million and utility taxes on electricity, water and gas will increase by $500,000. Also, utility revenues transferred to the general fund will increase by $1 million.

At the budget workshop the elected officials will be provided with options to address the shortfall. These options will include functional consolidations and workforce reductions, in-sourcing and outsourcing, and employee benefit cost sharing.

The city’s review of community priorities found that police and public safety continues to be the highest priority where citizens want to see their tax payer dollars invested.

Also, the report states that “overall, residents are happy with the quality of services provided.”

17 Responses to "Despite $3 Million Increase in Taxes and Fees, City Staff to Present $4.5 Million Budget Deficit for FY2018"

  1. Are there any surpluses from the utility dept? with the mild winter probably not. But now that we are into a new hurricane season, are we going to get a study or plan for burying power lies? We can put under medians of roads. We know it is expensive, but let’s come up with a staged plan. Do highest population, dense corridors first. It might take us 20 yrs, but we have to start somewhere.

  2. So if we want economic development but are not going to widen roads like Thomasvjlle, Monroe, Mahan, and the Parkway, then we need to have a better bus system. Why not dedicate $10 million a year out of Blueprint money for the bus system?

  3. Starmetro has an annual deficit of $7-$10 million dollars. The budget for Starmetro shows it breaking even at the start of every year by inflating projected revenues and budgeting expenses far below the previous year actual amounts. (Check it yourself, this is public information and there is a monthly budget report at the city showing this). Every year, Starmetro is over budget at the end of the year and the City Commission quietly gives them more money for the shortage. This game has been going on for at least a decade. Starmetro is the cause of this shortage and the root cause of all of the City’s budget problems.

  4. Same “old, same “old—the libertards always create deficit budgets —-spend, spend, spend, “taint their money. If there would be a taxpayer uprising that resulted in RIF (reduction in force), we could balance the budget for the next several years by eliminating the fluff in city offices.

  5. You can save millions by staying out of local businesses. Sell the Edison building! No more subsidies for bars or other businesses. No more gifts to out of town apartment owners. Cancel lobbying contracts with Sean Pittman and all other political insiders. I could find 4 million in savings before lunch!

  6. First off, kill the pay raises. No money in the budget. Rick use to be the budget guy; he knows how to fix it. Less expensive landscaping. Use some of the blueprint money to replace items in budget.

  7. We need an EFFECTIVE City Manager..someone who knows how to balance the budget. No more annual raises-no more travel to annual pool and cocktail parties to network-no travel to cities to try and understand “branding”-good grief! We don’t need to increase our poulation! Stay home and do your jobs. We need a mayor who uses his office for the good of the citizens-not the good of his political aspirations.

  8. What is the added cost of the median improvements I see on every road in the city. It’s got to be ridiculously expensive to maintain all of the trees and plants.

    1. I know where they could save $47,000/year.

      But since the Chicagohassee sheeple keep electing the same failures to run the town, it really doesn’t matter.

      Hope I can survive the period of time it will take before the city degrades to the point where the voters finally scream “Uncle!”

    1. There’s a little $$$ there, but start with the City Manager. This is embarrassing. Need enough new Commissioners to change out the entire senior staff and hire out-of-towners, and fewer of them, with zero “connections.” Since the ethics board, and its officer, is meaningless we need to bring ethics to the City the old fashioned way – elect ethical people.

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