Including all city and Cleveland Utilities funds, the entire budget is an estimated $220 million.
Some of the highlights include maintaining the city’s property tax rate at $1.409 per $100 of assessed value. The budget also excludes raising any fees, including the monthly sanitation fee of $6.95.
Also, it does not include a raise for city employees. They did receive a Christmas bonus that was the equivalent of a 1 percent raise in December 2011. Cleveland Utilities employees are budgeted to receive a 2 percent cost of living raise. CU employees did not receive an increase in this current year.
A raise is also budgeted for Cleveland City Schools employees.
Council members asked department heads where they could help save the additional $350,000 needed to give city employees a 2 percent wage increase.
Public Works Director Tommy Myers reluctantly suggested decreasing brush pickup to once a month.
“I wouldn’t want to do that,” he said. “It’s still going to be on the street for us to pick up.”
That suggestion was quashed by Council members since they continue to express reluctance to decrease municipal services.
The budget also includes $300,000 set aside for employee health and dental insurance premiums, which represents a 12 percent increase over FY2012. Health insurance will be let for bid in FY2013 due to the projected increase from the present provider.
The city’s operating revenues are expected to be about $550,000 less than the current year due to the loss of $911,000 from the county fire contract which was offset by an increase, in large part, in sales tax revenue. The city will lose the entire $1.8 million from Bradley County in FY2014 when the fire contract expires June 30, 2013.
The financial planning document also includes raising the General Fund Balance by $300,700. One million, four hundred thousand dollars were added in 2011 to bring the total to $10.16 million. No money was added in this current fiscal year ending June 30. As of June 30, 2013, the city manager projects a General Fund Balance of $10.46 million.
“Staff continued a conservative approach of estimating revenue for the FY2013 budget,” Casteel said. “Due to conservative budgeting practices, there has been growth in the fund balance for the past 10 years. Using conservative estimates in projecting future revenue will help ensure the city maintains an adequate fund balance.”
Major priorities for the FY2013 budget include capital projects funded from the 2009 local sales tax referendum. Those projects include airport construction and purchase of Spring Branch Industrial Park property.
The state will build a new interchange on APD 40 between U.S. Highway 11 and Interstate 75. The city’s share of the new local interstate connector between the new interchange and Spring Branch Industrial Park was funded in the current budget.
The city’s FY2013 budget will increase long-term debt by $6.34 million. The city is partnering equally with CU and Bradley County in the $6 million purchase of property for the industrial park. The city will issue debt and be reimbursed by Bradley County for its $2 million share in 2016. CU will be responsible for its share. Cleveland City Schools will service the $1.7 million of debt issued for construction of the local interstate connectors for the new interchange located on APD 40 in order to reimburse the city for the $1.7 million renovation of Arnold Memorial Elementary School.