City Budget Uses $36 Million From Various Reserve Funds

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Daisy Madison, the city's chief financial officer, said the upcoming city budget uses $36 million from various reserve funds, including $11 million from the city's rainy day fund.

The budget last year pulled $10 million from the rainy day fund.

Ms. Madison told City Council members at a budget hearing she did not know exactly how much is remaining in the rainy day fund without checking the figures. However, she said the city keeps in the fund at least 20 percent of the annual spending.

She said other reserve funds include the hotel/motel tax and the economic development fund. The hotel/motel tax proceeds are used for 21st Century Waterfront projects. The funds from the economic development pot are for various capital projects related to economic development.

Councilman Darrin Ledford said citizens wonder why the city budget goes up so much each year. He said it is $250 million in the current budget and is slated to rise to $262 million. He said, "The budget seems to increase dramatically every year."

Ms. Madison said the extra amount is for the cost of providing city services, which escalate, and for special projects.

She said the city has been receiving a "windfall" from extra tax payments generated by a flurry of development downtown.

Ms. Madison said one budget factor this year is an 8.4 percent rise in health care expenses.

Maura Sullivan, chief operating officer, said an increase in the mayor's office budget includes funds for the Mayor's Women's Council. That budget also covers the Mayor's Youth Council.

A new position in the mayor's budget is for a coordinator for the Multi-Cultural Affairs office.

City Council members will have $5,000 each for "allowable expenses" at their discretion, Councilwoman Carol Berz said. However, she said of the $5,000, "That's it" because other council funds are designated for other purposes, including staff salaries.

 


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