Mayor Svante Myrick gave the first presentation of the proposed 2013 budget to Common Council at their meeting October 3.
Myrick began the presentation by describing the process he went through for gathering input on the budget from Council, members of the public and city employees. Myrick said a common comment he received was that the city cannot continue doing what they have been doing in the past to close the budget gap, namely by raising property taxes and taking funds from the city’s fund balance, but must look for more strategic ways to address the budget deficit.
The 2013 budget proposes:
- The merger of the Planning and Development Department with the Building Department to create a new department, the Planning, Building, and Economic Development Department. Myrick added that since the merger would require an overhaul of the city’s code, current Building Commissioner Phyllis Radke would take on the new position of Code Commissioner.
- The merger of the Department of the City Controller with the Department of the City Chamberlain to create a new Finance Department, with the chamberlain reporting to the controller.
- Twenty-five staff vacancies will remain unfilled.
- Three currently filled positions, two firefighter positions and one administrative position in the Building Department, will be cut.
- The addition of a Chief of Staff Position, effective January 1, 2013.
-The addition of a Director of Parking, effective April 1, 2013.
- Contracts to retain year-round grant writers and lobbyists.
- Living Wage for all city employees, effective July 1, 2013.
- Using a 2.72% tax levy and $250,000 dollars from the city’s fund balance to close the budget gap.
The first budget meeting of Council will take place at 6pm on Tuesday, October 9.
In other business:
- The appointment of Scott Miller as a Part-Time City Court Judge was approved 9-1, with Alderperson Jennifer Dotson in opposition.
- Amendments to the Exterior Property Maintenance Ordinance were passed unanimously.
- A resolution authorizing the submission of a Safe Routes to School Program application was passed unanimously.