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Mayor submits $227 million FY18 budget

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At a joint session of the City Council and School Committee on Monday, city officials got their first look at Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s $227,398,677 FY18 budget. City Auditor and Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas presented the budget to the council, filling in for Mayor DeMaria, who could not attend the meeting due to a “pressing matter” which came up at the last minute.

According to Demas, while the budget total appears to be significantly larger than previous year’s budget (which came in at $205,569,572), this is largely because the city is now including state and county chargebacks in its totals, which the city had always paid (typically through state aid) but had not previously accounted for in its budget totals.

Under the proposed budget, the city would levy $100,371,904 in property taxes, leaving an excess tax capacity of just under $9 million below the city’s levy limit of $109,258,479. The city levied $98,197,960 under the FY17 budget.

The remainder of the budget will be funded through other revenue sources. The city is anticipating that it will receive $10,279,000 in local receipts, $73,500,817 in state aid, $18,127,319 in Enterprise Fund Revenue and $14,500,000 from “other financing sources.”

City expenses under the proposed budget total at $56,586,185 comprise:

General government expenses: $6,951,286

Public Safety: $31,989,717

City Services: $11,839,271

Human Services: $3,797,492

Libraries and Recreation: $2,008,419

The School Department foundation budget is $92,101,035, though after subtracting chargebacks to the city for shared expenses and adding $4,600,000 for special education transportation, the true total School Department budget comes to $74,685,290.

The City also has fixed costs totaling $51,688,898, comprised of the following:

Retirement assessment: $14, 431,080

Employee insurance: $20,853,473

Federal Insurance Contributions (FICA): $1,415,294

Employee injuries: $702,000

Property and liability insurance: $1,626,563

Debt service: $12,660,488

According to Demas, the city’s financial health is strong. Standard & Poor’s recently issued a bond rating for the city of AA+, the second-to-highest rating. There is currently $7,590,008 in the city’s Stabilization Fund, $2,521,865 in its Capital Improvement Stabilization Fund and 3,484,186 in its OPEB Liability Trust, and the city will soon receive 12.5 million from Wynn Resorts towards its Community Enhancement Stabilization Fund.

Two public Budget Committee meetings have been scheduled, both of which will be held in the council chambers on the third floor of City Hall. The school budget will be reviewed on Wednesday, May 31 at 6 p.m., while the city budget will be considered on Saturday, June 3 at 8 a.m. The Budget Committee is expected to report out to the full council on Monday, June 12. The hearings will be televised.

Copies of the budget are available on the city’s website, in the city clerk’s office and at the Parlin Library.

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