COT Projects $3.8 Million Budget Deficit for FY2025

COT Projects $3.8 Million Budget Deficit for FY2025

On Wednesday, the City of Tallahassee held a budget workshop and report on the first seven months’ financial results for the 14 funds that comprise the City’s FY24 operating budget.

The agenda for the workshop noted that the city’s general fund currently has a FY25 projected deficit of $3.8 million. Significant contributors to the deficit include $1.5 million for the estimated increase in health costs, $1.2 million increase in the transfer to StarMetro to return to the pre-pandemic level of funding, $755,000 increase in pension costs, an increase of $447,156 for utility costs, and $427,342 for other transfers. 

The FY24 operating and capital budgets, which total $1.122 billion, were approved by the City Commission in September 2023. The operating budget is $868.4 million, and the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget for FY24 totals $253 million.

This quarterly update presents the first seven months’ financial results for the 14 funds that comprise the City’s FY24 operating budget. All of the funds were given a “Green” rating except the StarMetro fund. which received a “Yellow” rating.

A “Green” rating indicates the fund is within budget as of the current quarterly update. A “Yellow” rating indicates that monitoring of the fund’s key drivers is needed. There is a budgetary issue that requires ongoing attention. And a “Red” indicates that he status of the fund requires action to return it to a balanced state.

StarMetro Details

StarMetro is the City’s public transit service which provides fixed-route and special transportation services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions and serves as the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC) for Leon County.

The StarMetro Department comprises six divisions and operates 14-weekday cross-town routes and other weekend and night routes, including university service or student ridership programs for FSU, FAMU, TCC, and K-12 students in Leon County.

The chart below shows that fixed route ridership has increased in the last two years but is still well below pre-pandemic levels. Staff notes that the slow return to pre-pandemic numbers is a common trend nationwide.

The agenda item states “paratransit and other “on-demand” trips must be closely monitored to ensure services are provided within available resources.   The department is reviewing methods to improve the coordination of on-demand services with fixed routes and providing options for contracted on-demand services to ensure competitive rates are paid per trip.”

5 Responses to "COT Projects $3.8 Million Budget Deficit for FY2025"

  1. I’d start with “making being poor suck again”. Stop rewarding failure with taxpayer paid benefits. Sell the Tallahassee utilities to the private sector, sell the bus line to the private sector and start making jail and prison inmates clean the streets and cut the grass. However, I’m betting they just raise taxes.

  2. How about dumping Start Metro? Buses are so 1950s. You could get rid of those humongous buses that are almost always empty, close the garage, reassign the drivers to other city jobs and give people who need a ride an Uber account. It’s a two-fer. You unload an expensive city service very, very few people use while at the same time boost the economy of the private sector. I know. I know. Ain’t gonna happen.

  3. They can start with the CSC. Drive over to the office right now and you will find it empty, with a whole lotta nuthin’ goin on. The commissioners can evaluate the applicants and distribute the money, it’s not hard work, and there isn’t that much of it. Boom, there’s a million dollars right there.

  4. Also included is the ridiculous amount of $$$ needed to support the $15 per hour minimum wage voted on by the clueless, along with its associated costs. And we are approaching the 3rd year of its incremental implementation.

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