Interim City Manager Ned Keefe submitted his City Budget proposal on Monday night to the City Council in a late communication that was entered into the record.
Council President Leo Robinson said the Council will begin deliberations on that budget May 18, 19 and 20.
The budget is up 7.6 percent, Keefe said, to $148.9 million, from last year. He said in order to meet spending goals, the City would have to infuse $1.809 million in Free Cash to fill the gap. That is higher than expected, but he said “but the City maintains reserves that can fill in the gap associated with higher than anticipated spending requirements.”
Most of the increase to the budget is related to school spending, Keefe said.
“The budget increase of $10.5 million is attributable, in part, to the $6.3 million increase in the School Department/Vocational School budget which is the result of additional state school aid,” he said. “Charter schools represent another significant cost to the…budget, at an increase of $2.7 million. Combined, the overall education costs represent the greater share of overall increase in the budget.”
Some of the highlights of the budget, according to Keefe, are:
- Hiring five new uniformed officers, a 25 percent match by the City to get a federal grant.
- Modification of the crime watch position to a Community Engagement Specialist for the police, as well as continued funding for contracts to pay for the two drug outreach navigators and the prostitution task force coordinator.
- 18 new positions in the School Department.
- Two new City Hall positions, including for economic development in the Planning Office and for housing inspections in the ISD.
Keefe did note that the budget will require a 2.5 percent increase in taxes, but not a Proposition 2 1/2 vote.
He also stressed that the budget makes continued reductions to the City’s debt service payments.