FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City Manager Greg Burris began a series of City Council workshops Tuesday, April 24 in preparation for the formal presentation of the FY 2018-19 budget recommendations. The first workshop was held during City Council’s regular lunch meeting and provided a high-level overview of the City’s annual budget development process. Burris provided a general overview and indicated the priorities for the General Fund proposed budget.
City Finance Director David Holtmann projects the current fiscal year (FY 18 – running from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018) sales tax to hit budgeted projections and offers a conservative revenue estimate for FY19. Total General Fund revenue growth from budget FY18 to budget FY19 is estimated at 1.3 percent. FY19 sales tax, the largest source of revenue, is estimated to be 2.0% higher than FY18 budget. There is a 2.5 percent increase projected from payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) from City Utilities. Gross receipts, however, are predicted to trend down by 7 percent, with all other revenue sources flat.
The annual budget is a plan – a financial proposal that directs the provision of public services and facilities. The services provided by a public organization are based on the available revenues (funds) from all sources as approved in its annual budget.
The City’s budget process is led by the City Manager, who is required by the City Charter, to present a proposed balanced budget to City Council by May 1. The series of budget workshops allow City Council time to review and discuss the City Manager’s proposed budget and to approve the budget before the new fiscal year begins on July 1 each year.
The following general principles have been followed in the financial management of the City and in the development of the annual budget. These policies have been developed to guide the City in delivering a consistent level of service, while maintaining a stable financial position and equitable tax structure.
- Financial Planning Policies (including operating with a balanced budget)
- Revenue Policies (such as fees for services paid for by those receiving the services to recover the cost of providing the services)
- Expenditure Policies (such as providing the best service possible given revenue constraints and maintaining adequate cash reserves.
“The proposed budget is a balanced budget, and in my view as City Manager, one that prioritizes employee recruitment and retention, public safety, economic vitality and fiscal sustainability, while attempting to address funding needs within all areas of the organization,” Burris said. Balancing the budget under our current funding model has presented a greater challenge each year. Although City departments have done a good job of running efficiently and keeping expenditures within budget, sales tax growth is not keeping pace with the increasing costs to fund operating demands to provide high-quality services. Many of our citizens experience the same struggle trying to manage their own household budgets.”
As in prior years, the City’s General Fund operational and capital needs continue to far exceed available funding. “I continue to emphasize the importance of operational efficiency and encourage innovative thinking and creative solutions for cost recovery and revenue enhancement,” Burris continued.
The City continues to have more needs than what revenue will allow to be funded.
While the Level Property Tax now provides funding for much needed lifecycle capital replacement and additional public safety staffing, it does not alleviate much General Fund budget pressure, Holtmann explained.
“We continue, however, to have unfunded ongoing capital needs, although the renewal of the Level Property Tax (LPT) and its increased flexibility will allow us to address some pressing needs and we thank the voters for their overwhelming support.” That measure was passed in November 2017 by 75 percent.
Expenditures of Level Property Tax funds are included in the FY19 budget proposal, including promised projects that were included in the Council bill authorizing the renewal ballot in August 2017.
Council previously approved the funding and amended the current FY18 budget for purchase of land for Fire Station #13 (West Central neighborhood), the replacement of a fire engine and the appropriation of funding to remodel the former Springfield Mill and Lumber building for the additional police staffing.
The FY19 proposed budget attempts to address funding needs within all areas of the organization. However, consistently over the past seven years, law enforcement and public safety have been the clear funding priority. In the proposed FY18 budget, 62 percent (or more than $51 million) of General Fund appropriations address public safety needs.
Future budget workshops are scheduled for May 1, May 11 and May 15 and will cover revenues and pre-commitments and detailed funding recommendations over the course of those weeks. The City Council lunch workshops are open to the public, broadcast live on CityView’s channels on Mediacom and U-Verse. They are live streamed from the CityofSGF Facebook site and on springfieldmo.gov.
Throughout the budget workshop process (May 1 – June 30), the public has access to both the proposed budget and the later adopted budget online at Springfieldmo.gov/Budget and at Springfieldmo.gov/OpenData (the City’s data portal). On both of these web pages, there are links to full line-item detail reports in addition to helpful summaries. Printed copies of the proposed budget are available at the cost of printing.
For more information, contact Finance Director David Holtmann at 417-864- 1632 or [email protected] or Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].