Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An infusion of projected revenue balances the city’s budget

Budget Alloc graph_webIt came out of nowhere – a surprise increase of over $1 million of projected revenue to balance the 2014 fiscal year budget and fund the items that exceeded the budget at the April 1 “fools day” budget briefing.

The total budget for 2014 is now $260 million – a 2.8%, $7.1 million increase over last year. That puts the budget at a 2009 level said Director of Finance Ann Shawver. “Considering the Consumer Price Index since that time, we’re really about 10%  behind our ’09 level,” said Shawver.

The budget projection increases primarily came from expected growth in property and business taxes, as well as an increase in Health and Welfare funding from the Commonwealth.

The schools picked up almost $300,000 of the increase but the bulk of the increase went to outside agencies at $419,000. RCPS will receive $74.5 million, a 2.4% increase.

Two positions in Billing and Collections will go unfunded. City employees will get a 2% pay raise. It includes market adjustment increases for maintenance workers, and the starting pay for police officers and Fire-EMS personnel.

A big help in balancing the budget this year was elimination of the “Aid to Localities” that sends money back to the state to balance their budget. This added $1.2 million for the city.

Expect a fee increase of $3 from zero dollars for overnight parking in garages. This fee is in anticipation of the hotel being built over the Church Avenue garage. City Council voted to help with improvements for the hotel for “utilities installation” in the amount of $350,000.

Capital funding for the Library Master Plan was pushed out a year and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan had $500,000 defunded for three years. Streetscapes and the Civic Center’s capital needs were also reduced

The reductions and postponements for funding the Master Plans made it possible to aid the Jefferson Center and the Virginia Museum of Transportation. They will each receive $100,000 annually for five years. The Jefferson Center must match the funds as a contingency and VMT must secure funding from other localities. One time cash funding for 2014 was used for the first installment on both.

The debt policy is precariously close to the limit of 10% of total expenditures in 2018 and especially in 2019 when it reaches 9.99%. Shawver stress that these projections are based on no growth and capital projects can be adjusted as economic condition become clearer in out years.

The capital improvement request to expand Round Hill School is not funded until 2016. The extra $3.5 million is half of the requested $7 million. The other half unfunded is the renovation of the current Round Hill classrooms.

Retirees will receive a 1.4% cost of living increase.

A public hearing for citizens will be held Thursday April 25 at 7:00 p.m. in council chambers. The budget presentation can be viewed on the city’s website at www.roanokeva.gov. The entire document can be viewed HERE.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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