FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Assistant City Manager Collin Quigley presented the implementation budget for the recently renewed Level Property Tax to City Council at its Lunch Workshop Tuesday. Voters approved the renewal of the tax in November 2017 with 75% support. Level Property Tax is used to fund public safety, stormwater and public facility improvements and staffing to support the projects approved for the funds’ use.
Quigley laid out a detailed plan and timeline that includes all of the promised projects that were included in the Council bill authorizing the ballot in August 2017. The plan utilizes both the issuance of debt (bonds) for large-scale capital facilities and improvements and a “pay-as-you-go” strategy to fund on-going expenses, such as:
- Life-cycle replacement of vehicles & equipment
- One-time expenses for small-scale projects
Council has already approved the funding and amended this year’s budget for the the purchase of land for Fire Station #13 (West-Central), the replacement of a fire engine and the first reading of appropriation of funding to remodel the former Springfield Mill and Lumber building for the additional police staffing.
Primarily, LPT has been utilized in the past for bonding large-scale capital facilities with long life spans. Quigley reminded City Council that the City still has approximately $27 million of existing debt that this fund supports until 2031, when the existing bonds will be paid off. This previous debt was issued to support the voter-approved projects from prior LPT approvals.
The City plans to again issue debt in 2020 and 2026 to support current needs for large-scale capital facilities.
A reoccurring theme, and one of the primary reasons to remove the sunset provision from the tax was to establish a funding source for annual life-cycle replacement of vehicles and equipment and to add staffing for additional high-priority needs.
In last year’s budget hearings, City Manager Greg Burris cobbled together carry-over and other one-time sources to replace police cars and fire engines. “Thanks to the voters’ approval in November, we will now begin utilizing the LPT for this unfunded need. Replacing public safety vehicles and equipment based on the lifecycle of each is a significant step forward for our community” he said.
2020 Debt Issuance Bond Anticipated Projects: Approximately $33.5 Million
• New Fire Station #13 (West-Central)
• Replace Fire Stations #4 & #7 with New Stations
• Historic City Hall Renovations
• Police Headquarters Roof Replacement
• New Public Works Grounds Operations Maintenance Building
• Replace the existing Animal Shelter with a New Facility
• Fire Station Upgrades to all existing stations except #4 and #7 including various facility improvements, such as roofs and window replacements, HVAC, electrical and mechanical system upgrades, parking lots maintenance/repairs, etc.
• Jordan Creek Regional Detention Basin at Chestnut & Trafficway
• Stormwater Improvement Projects (all zones)
2026 Debt Issuance Bond Projects: Approximately $8 Million
• New Police Property and Evidence Storage Facility
• New Fire Station #14 (West Station)
• Life-Cycle Replacement of Vehicles and Equipment
• Public Works and Public Safety Staffing
• Contribution to the Greene County Jail Expansion
• Comprehensive Plan Development
• Design Fees and Land Acquisition Expenses
Police Staffing Timeline:
19 New Officers
3 New non-sworn staff
January 2019-10 recruits
6 for Family Violence Unit
4 for Property Crimes Unit
January 2020-6 recruits
3 for Property Crimes Unit
3 for Vice Unit
January 2021-3 recruits
3 for Vice Unit
Fire Staffing Timeline:
Station 13 ( 7 Firefighters from the current SAFER Grant)
Station 14 (12 New Firefighters in 2026)
Public Works Staffing Timeline:
Staffing immediately for Project Management
Staffing for Facilities’ Maintenance for New and Fully Renovated Facilities
Funding as agreed upon with Greene County to contribute $200,000 a year for 10 years, beginning in July 2018 (beginning of fiscal year) for the jail expansion. Quigley explained that if the City tried to fund this prior to July, the LPT fund balance would go negative in year 2024. “Our cash flow is very tight,” Quigley explained, pointing to a spreadsheet containing full annual cash flow projections.
Next steps: City Council will be presented annually with the City’s budget for the anticipated expenditures within the LPT fund for capital and personnel to be funded from the LPT Fund. This will be highlighted in this year’s budget workshops as staff and Council review the Special Revenue Funds proposed budgets.
A column labeled FY’19 on the cash flow spreadsheet, details what proposed projects will be presented to City Council with the proposed FY’19 budget later this year. Those projects include: police life cycle replacement of equipment and vehicles and additional investigators; seven firefighters; design costs for construction projects and public works staff to assist the project management; Greene County jail agreement commitment and a portion of the cost to begin the development of a Citywide Comprehensive Plan.
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For more information, contact Collin Quigley at 864-1116 or Cora Scott at 380-3352.
View Level Property Tax Implementation Budget
View Public Works’ Gannt Chart Project Timeline