CITY OF TALLAHASSEE PRESS RELEASE
TALLAHASSEE,Fla.--Today, City Manager Anita Favors Thompson released her recommended $854.5 million fiscal year 2014 (FY14) budget, which includes a $697.3 million operating budget and $157.2 million capital budget, for review by the City Commission. The propused budget focuses on maintaining the high level of existing services important to citizens, while making necessary financial adjustments that will balance the budget, stimulate the local economy and address critically needed funding for capital projects within the general government area.
“The City of Tallahassee has come through demanding economic times where we saw a loss in revenue, made difficult funding decisions about programs and eliminated approximately 200 positions,” Favors Thompson said. “As an organization, we strive to be financially flexible to positively influence our own destiny. In that regard we are in a good position, especially considering many of our peer governments are still struggling with the effects of the recession.”
The City Commission will hold a workshop on the proposed FY14 budget on Wednesday, June 19. The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. in the City Commission Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 300 South Adams St. It will be broadcast live on WCOT (Comcast Cable and CenturyLink channel 13) and also streamed live on Talgov.com.
The total operating budget amount for FY14 is $11.7 million higher than the current (FY13) budget, and the capital budget is $29.6 million higher than the current budget. The proposed budget includes a modest adjustment to the City’s millage rate to 3.9999 mills from 3.7 mills. This rate is below the allowable adjusted rolled-back rate of 4.3 mills. At the new proposed rate, an average home with a taxable value of $150,000 would pay an additional $3.75 a month in Ad Valorem. Even at this proposed rate, the City’s property tax rate remains one of the lowest of the larger cities in the State of Florida.
The proposed FY14 budget incorporates direction provided over the past year by the City Commission, as well as input received from citizens at the community budget meetings and through the online citizen survey.
“This proposed budget is designed to provide the level of quality services that citizens have told us they want, while maintaining fiscal responsibility and beginning to recover from the effects of the economic downturn,” said Heath Beach, the City’s Budget Manager.
Among the highlights in the proposed FY14 budget are the following:
• Net increase of 28 FTE positions proposed, including six additional Police officers, five positions for Public Works and two positions for the Animal Service Center.
• Additional funding for StarMetro to provide enhancements to shelters and fund 11 new positions to improve service levels.
• Continued investment in the community to spur economic development and maintain the quality of life enjoyed by our citizens. Examples include proposed funding for the construction of FAMU Way and a limited trolley service that will connect key business districts in the heart of Tallahassee.
The budget also proposes a 2.5 percent salary increase for non-union employees. Although pension rates have not been finalized, it is anticipated that these will increase in FY14. It is also estimated that the City’s portion of the cost of employee health insurance is estimated to increase by approximately five percent, with employees sharing in the increase. Salary and benefit adjustments for Fire are included as provided in the current collective bargaining agreement. The City is currently in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with Police. The proposed budget includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for Police.
City Commissioners will hold a final budget workshop on July 1. Following the final budget workshop, two public hearings on the proposed FY14 budget will be held on September 11 and 25. The new fiscal year begins October 1. The FY14 proposed budget is available online at Talgov.com.