Restoration project

And compared to previous years’ budgets full of bad news, cuts and declining revenue, this one wasn’t so bad.

to last year, it’s good economic times, but if you look at the trends
that we’ve seen, it’s really more moderate economic times,” said City
Manager Jim Couch. “There are a lot of good things we could do with more
money, but we put together a budget this year I think that addresses
our core needs and helps restore some of the cuts we made in the last

Although the
budget adds positions and services, it still leaves the city below
fiscal year 2009 staffing levels, Couch states in the city’s budget
book. And while projected revenues for the upcoming fiscal year have
rebounded from their recession-level lows, they are only 3 percent above
fiscal year 2009.

the restoration of positions and services, the city will also move 100
public safety positions that it had transferred over to the MAPS 3 use
tax fund, which was supposed to go toward buying public safety equipment
and which proponents of MAPS 3 said during the campaign would be used
to fund additional police and fire positions.

positions will be paid for out of the general fund, and the MAPS 3 use
tax fund will be reimbursed around $8 million, budget officials said.

this budget, I think we’ve achieved some of the goals that the council
gave us when we started the budget process … to get off the fund balance
for the MAPS 3 use tax for public safety to put those public positions
back into the general fund,” Couch said.

the proposed budget, the city’s general fund, which pays for most
day-to-day municipal services, would be around $364 million. That is
about a 6 percent increase from the general fund for the current fiscal
year, which ends in June.

Director Craig Freeman told the council that under the proposed budget,
the 29 firefighter positions eliminated during the recession will
be brought back in the next fiscal year, thanks to a two-year homeland
security grant, and the firefighters to fill those positions are
currently in training.

After the grant expires, it will cost the city about $2 million annually to maintain those positions, he said.

the city will restore the 22 police positions eliminated during the
recession, Freeman said, while moving the 100 public safety positions
from the MAPS 3 use tax fund into the general fund.

“Everyone recognized it wasn’t a good decision that we wanted to make,
but it was one to preserve those services we needed,” Freeman told the
Council. “Council made it very clear to us it was the highest priority
to get off of that one-time temporary revenue, and that’s one of first
steps we’re making this budget.”

it won’t just be public safety positions coming back. Freeman gave a
long list of other city positions to be restored as well.

city clerk’s office will have positions added to help respond to
records requests, while development services will have positions and
added services to help with adoption of animals and code enforcement,
Freeman said.

finance department will also add employees to help enforce delinquent
sales tax remittance from vendors, and several positions will be added
to the information technology department.

services and departments benefitting from the proposed budget are civil
litigation, municipal court, parks and recreation, personnel, public
transportation and public works. Fire department administration and
police overtime for gang and traffic enforcement will also receive

There will
be several other meetings with the City Council as the finer points of
the proposed budget are hammered out, and Freeman said he expects the
budget to come before the council for a vote on June 14.

Clifton Adcock

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