Tallahassee, Florida - June 22, 2012 -
City Manager Anita Favors Thompson today released her recommended $686 million fiscal year 2013 operating budget for review by the Tallahassee City Commission. The proposed budget represents a $24.7 million decrease from the current year budget, due primarily to a decrease in fuel expenses for City utilities. The proposed FY2013 budget maintains the City’s millage rate of 3.7 mills for the fourth consecutive year, and represents one of the lowest millage rates among the larger municipalities in Florida.
The City Commission will hold a workshop to review and provide direction on the City Manager’s proposed FY 2013 budget on Wednesday, June 27, beginning at 9 a.m. in the City Commission Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 300 South Adams Street.
The proposed FY2013 budget incorporates direction provided over the past year by the City Commission, the Financial Viability target issue committee, as well as input received from citizens at the community budget meetings or the online citizen survey. The budget balances limited resources resulting from the continued impacts of the economic downturn while still focusing on providing quality services to the community.
However, the City's current fiscal position is strong, and beginning with the FY14 budget and in future budgets should be enhanced as additional revenues resulting from completed current public and private building projects are realized. In addition, virtually all of these significant projects, such as the Gaines Street Revitalization and associated private development in the Gaines corridor, will serve as catalysts for additional economic growth and development opportunities throughout the community.
"We've worked extremely hard over the last few years to meld the two seemingly incompatible concepts of a faltering economy and high expectations for our organization from citizens,” said Favors Thompson. "Yet despite the difficulties of late, this is a truly exciting time to be in Tallahassee with new development occurring throughout the community. In less than two years Gaines Street, FAMU Way, Madison Street, Cascades Park, Franklin Boulevard and associated university developments will be completed and will create a whole new look and feel for the Capital City."
Among the highlights in the proposed FY 2013 budget are the following:
Restoration of the deficiencies fund ahead of schedule, resulting in credit rating agencies placing the City on a stable outlook
Construction of public sector projects continues at a brisk pace (Cascades Park, Public Safety Dispatch Complex, Gaines St., Franklin Blvd. improvements, etc.)
Proposed capital budget of $127.6 million, with key focus on needed upgrades and improvements to Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs facilities
Decrease in debt service by $3.8 million over current levels
Sustained viability of the City's pension plan, which received an A rating
Net decrease of 44.75 FTE positions, with 58 positions being moved from the City's budget to the new Public Safety Dispatch agency
15 new positions are proposed, with six for Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs (maintenance positions at Cascades Park, slated to open in 2013) and six for Public Works (for the Regional Traffic Management Center at the Public Safety Complex; all six are funded by Florida Department of Transportation)
The proposed budget recommends a 2.5 percent rate adjustment for non-union City employees, with no changes to their existing pension plan. A new pension plan has been proposed for new employees starting in FY 2013 that would continue to ensure the long-term financial security of the pension fund.
The proposed FY13 budget was also developed with input provided by citizens at a series of community budget input meetings held earlier this year. As part of the budget process, the City Manager pointed to a continued focus on key City Commission priority areas. These include:
Develop a vision for future transportation needs, focusing on infrastructure and how people move about the community including transit, bicycle and pedestrian activity.
Use technology to enhance the lives of our citizens.
Develop a vibrant economic development plan that clearly defines the City’s role and strategies.
Continue sense of place development by creating a vision for downtown Tallahassee, including all aspects of an active 18-hour community.
Initiate a local government review of the Arts Master Plan to ensure goals are aligned with current realities.
Maintain financial viability.
Review and prioritize infrastructure needs.
Favors Thompson noted that even during our challenging financial times, the community has much to look forward to and be proud of as it relates to quality of life issues. In the past three years various entities have recognized the unique assets of this community through the designation of Most Livable City in America, #1 public utility in America, #1 destination for retirees and Best in America Parks & Recreation Department. "All of this recognition continues to point to our community as one of the finest in the country, and I firmly believe the fiscal strength and efficiency of City government plays a significant role in us being so recognized."
Following the June 27 budget workshop, the City Commission will hold a final budget workshop on July 10. Two public hearings will take place on September 5 and 19. The new fiscal year begins October 1. The FY 2013 proposed budget is available on the City’s Talgov.com website.