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Town delves into budget review process

  • Monday, May 6, 2013

editor@moultrienews.com The proposed budget review process for Mount Pleasant FY2013 - 14 is underway and reflects policy and program decisions outlined in the Strategic Plan. As proposed, the budget is balanced and no new programs or services are requested.

The budget includes the recommended first year funding of a five year capital projects plan presented to council at the January 2013 retreat. The total of all budgeted funds, exclusive of interfund transfers, is $87,048,913, as compared to $87,235,569 for the current fiscal year.

Phase II of the Shem Creek project and a new town hall will be paid for using tax-increment financing, otherwise know as TIF. This is a public financing method to use future, expected tax gains to financially support projects that are projected to create the gains.

Building a new town hall is projected to cost about $23 million. Other capital needs include drainage concerns with aging pipes, a proposed new fire station, upgrades to existing recreational facilities and a new system for town employee healthcare.


Total expenditures by category are as follows:

•Personnel

$36,295,628

Personnel changes include a performance matrix that would provide a 2.5% to 2.75% increase for employees meeting job expectations and as much as 3% for a small number of employees that exceed job expectations. Additional staffing for a quarter year for 12 firefighters for station 6 is also funded. Station 6 is needed to maintain existing level of service. Health care cost including Post Employment Healthcare is showing an increase as well. The Town eliminated 19 positions by consolidating dispatch activity with the County, but saving from the loss of these positions will not be realized until a contractual obligation to pay for two years of transitional cost is met.

•Operating

$20,762,830

Operating highlights include adjustments to several large contracts (legal, ROW maintenance, transfer hauling, landscaping). Utility costs resulting from the watering of highway landscaping and increased street lighting for highway projects have contributed to increased operations cost as well. A voluntary non-exchange contract to pay for the transitional cost of consolidating dispatch operations with the county will cost approximately $2.4 million in total.

•Debt

$11,409,597

While the Town is rapidly repaying existing debt, a 2013 Bond Issue for capital projects in the amount of $22 million is scheduled. Replacement of fleet vehicles is funded with a three and five year equipment lease.

•Capital

$17,529,013

Town capital project requests exceed available funding from existing revenues. The issuance of a $22 million dollar general obligation bond provides the additional funding necessary to address already approved projects for this fiscal year. The Town has begun to address infrastructure maintenance with 1.9 million in projects identified for this year. It should be noted that it will be difficult to sustain the current pace of capital projects without additional or enhanced revenue.

•Reserves

$1,051,845

Town special revenue is exhibiting growth, indicating a strengthening of the local economy to include new construction, housing sales and new business activity. Accommodations taxes, Hospitality taxes, and Impact fees continue to exhibit growth

•Stormwater Special Revenue is not growing, in part due to collection difficulty

General Fund revenue is projected to increase by 3% over the FY20 12 - 13 budget.

Items to note include:

•Property tax revenue is a conservative estimate that includes adjustment for the tax credit factor (a portion of current taxes was moved to “In Lieu of Taxes” based on County information that shows more detail)

•An increase in Local Option Sales tax revenue due to improving economy

•Building permit fees are showing growth, increasing by 10% over the prior year

General Fund expenditures include:

•Charleston County Agreement for Consolidated Dispatch

•New debt payment for a $22 million bond needed to fund capital projects

•12 new positions for Fire Station #6 (Carolina Park). The station will ensure rapid response to emergencies.

•7 new positions for other departments:

Unfroze (2) Public Services Laborers, (1) Accounting Assistant, (1) Building Inspector, (2) Police

Duty Officers and added (1) new position in Transportation for a Traffic Engineer to maintain current service levels

•Employee pay for performance

•Increase in retiree health care costs

General Fund expenditures include (continued):

•Increased funding for the ARC

•Increase in Police Retirement contributions

•Utility & m aintenance increases relat ed to completed highway projects

Special Revenue Fund expenditures include the following recommendations:

•Addition of a new position in

Victims’ Advocate Fund (Victim Advocate for Seniors)

•Design for Patriots Point Road Realignment

•Fire Station #6 construction

Capital Fund expenditures include:

•Implemented a CIP Plan resulting in a Capital Budget

New fund for Infrastructure

•Equipment acquisition through 2 new lease purchase agreements

The proposed Budget is balanced and supports the strategic plan as approved by Council. It maintains the existing service levels the Town has come to expect. Future capital spending may need to be deferred. This Budget represents good value for revenue provided by our community.

Revenue and expenditure details for each fund are presented in the remainder of this document.

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