City Council Thursday adopted a $21.8 million 2014 budget proposal that holds the line on real estate tax rates.
It sets the tax millage at 11.58 mills with 1 mill of tax generating about $880,000.
The taxes add $10.1 million to the operating budget, according to William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director.
City department representatives and Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, left, listen as William E. Nichols, Jr., city finance director, announces the 2014 budget for approval during the city council meeting Thursday night.
The budget includes an estimated $2.4 million surplus and maintains 11.58 mills of real estate tax collected or $1,158 a year for a house assessed at $100,000.
Combined property taxes and taxes on wages, business privilege and mercantile and other sources of revenue are about $16.4 million.
The budget added two more codes enforcement employees, bought additional police vehicles and is paying wage increases of 2 to 3.5 percent to unionized city employees and retiring firefighters.
Among the largest department budgets is that of the police at $8.1 million.
Chief Gregory A. Foresman said the costs are for salaries, benefits and pensions for the 49 officers. The budget adds two police officers to the department using a $419,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant. The two officers' salaries and benefits would be paid for three years, with the city picking up the final year of the grant, which could range from $160,000 to $200,000. The city plans to receive another $533,000 in grants, including $308,000 in lieu of taxes paid and $123,674 for initial use of the COPS hiring grant. The police grant is one that will maintain the police complement not expand the department.
Foresman said the plan next year is to buy at least three police cruisers and equip them with updated computers, radio and video technology, cages and molded seats.
The fire department budget is set at $6.3 million. Costs are due to increased personnel costs, said Fire Chief C. Dean Heinbach. The department has 33 firefighters and an administrative aide. A facility account has been established to provide for upkeep and maintenance-related costs.
The Streets and Parks Department will cost $3 million. The department budget fills a vacancy in the Streets and Parks Department, a truck driver position, and permits the department to replace a 1990 dump truck.
The finance department and personnel costs are $894,046. The department expenses are for salaries, insurances and related tax services provided by outside agencies, Nichols said.
The codes department budget is $820,650 and is budgeted for two more employees. A request by Council President Bill Hall to readjust the department that is assigned with managing the new rental ordinance that goes into effect Jan. 1 and inspecting rental properties by reducing the fund balance by $71,000 was instead agreed to be a transfer of that amount to the bottom line of the general fund with no specific department targeted for getting the money.
Under road resurfacing, the proposed spending plan would use $946,000 for repairing and street reconstruction and paving with separate funding of $25,000 available to pay for a traffic study and a look at land use east of Market Street within the Central Business District.
It provides funding for the completion of the flood levee certification and technology upgrades at City Hall.
A capital projects' budget furthers development of Destination 2014, a project to create taxable properties on the YMCA grounds and the lots bordered by West Third, Hepburn, West Fourth and Elmira streets.
River Valley Transit's budget is $5.9 million, which is up by $282,500 over 2013, mainly due to increased responsibilities in the Endless Mountains Transportation Authority and Church Street Transportation facility.
Next year, the mayor's salary rises from $67,440 to $69,125. His administrative aide salary drops from $28,840 to $24,638. The aide does not have the city health insurance policy.
The city anticipates revenue from television cable franchise, building permits and street excavation permits. The city plans to generate $200,000 from traffic fines and district judges' fees.
Other areas of revenue include the pool admissions, which are expected to be $2,000 more next year, $22,000 in towing fees and $2,000 in rental inspections.
The city is expected to receive $934,000 in state grants, including $900,000 of that amount from pension contributions, with the remainder derived from beverage license tax and public utilities tax.
The budget also eliminates a full-time position at the Elm Street program manager due to the grant's lack of availability.
The city anticipates $728,000 in next year's natural gas impact fees. These are expected to pay for improvements to Reach Road, a Brodart Neighborhood Improvement program, flood levee certification, street resurfacing and rehabilitation, a police records management system and improvements to public services and paying general obligation bond costs.
The city's proposed debt service is budgeted at $8.3 million. The debt service was $2.7 million budgeted.
For road maintenance, the Liquid Fuels budget is $631,480, or $24,763 more than this year. The city gets $600,680 of it from the state liquid fuels account for use on road repair and upkeep.
Council holds a reorganizational meeting 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6 and the next regular session at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9.