It’s time for the administration to present our budget to the Municipal Council. We’ve worked hard for almost a year on the budget with the goal of submitting a budget that is sustainable, fiscally responsible and in harmony with the direction of the Council. Our goal is to maximize every dollar and provide a great value to our residents. Our employees understand that every tax dollar we receive is a sacrifice from our residents who trust us to use it wisely. While preparing the 2016 budget, directors were asked to evaluate their budgets and look for possible savings before they were submitted. Despite years of deep cuts, department directors were asked to keep operational budgets flat and submit only critical supplemental requests.
Here’s a sneak peek at what is in the budget
Three new police officers. An independent study done several years ago validates that we need at least 10 more officers. We can’t get there all at once but we’re asking for three in this budget. Two of the officers will be funded without any additional tax burden and one will be funded by our request to allow property tax revenue to keep pace this year with inflation. Increasing property taxes requires a Truth in Taxation hearing to be held in August supported by the Municipal Council.
Funding for a new fleet facility. Our current facility is old, ineffective, and most important – it’s not safe. Many of the vehicles we service can’t even fit in the existing building. We’ve worked for years to find a way to fund the building without increases in our general fund, however small rate increases will be required in our enterprise funds.
The budget also includes funding for a new citywide software system. Our current computer system is cobbled together with a series of programs all introduced with good intentions to solve problems but totally incapable of running the type of city you expect from us. Like the Fleet building, we’ve found a way to fund the software without increases in our general fund and only small rate increases will be required in our enterprise funds.
The Municipal Council will be presented with a proposal to place a Recreation, Arts, and Parks (RAP) Tax on November’s ballot. The proposed budget assumes the Municipal Council approves a resolution for the November election and the voters approve the RAP tax. If approved, the tax will generate approximately $632,000 in FY2016 (half of a year). The budget also assumes a 10 year RAP tax revenue bond will be issued in early 2016 for the construction and upgrade of new and existing Parks and Recreation projects .
Perhaps the part of the budget that is most difficult will be rate increases in our utilities. Water, Sewer, Stormwater, and Sanitation services all increase but as you can see from the follow graph we are still highly competitive and below almost all of our neighboring cites.
Our budget also includes funding for overtime related to the Provo City Center Temple Open House, a new emergency notification system, an upgrade for the dispatch phone center, an automatic license plate reader (which will help us with parking enforcement), money to keep the recreation center equipment current, a budget to replace city trees and funding for the upcoming election.