City Cents

“This year’s budget has some milestones that we have not reached in the past,” City Manager Jim Couch says.

But the new number is not that much of a leap from last year. For FY 2012-2013, the approved budget was about $980 million.

Couch says this budget has few significant changes from the previous one and accounts for moderate revenue growth rates.

The general fund budget, which pays for the day-to-day operations in the city, is $400.8 million – a 0.6% increase from the 2012-2013 budget. Sales tax is the largest single source of revenue for the city and makes up 49.7% of operating revenue.

In addition to the new police officers, 11 positions in the utilities and airport departments will be included.

“Our economy is still doing well, and that’s allowed us to maintain some enhancements to service levels,” Budget Director Doug Dowler says.

Funds in the budget also are allocated to help people get around. It dedicates $1 million to fund bus service enhancements. The request for the funds is in response to a recent transit review by consultant Nelson/Nygaard.

“One million may not be enough, but it will be a start toward implementation,” Couch says.

The city council will ultimately decide how those transit funds will be used.

Public safety makes up 64.3% of the general fund, followed by public services at 17.4%, culture and recreation at 9.4% and general government at 8.9%.

Last year, the city council approved a budget of about $185 million for public safety; this year, Police Chief Bill Citty got $197 million. More than $2.8 million is designated for new personnel: 37 officers and three lieutenants. It will put more officers on the street on weekends and help deal with violent crime and gang issues, Citty says.

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