Council sets September 4 for budget public hearing.
City Manager Ron Olson delivered his proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget and Plan of Municipal Services to City Council at tonight’s special meeting. Council received the document along with an overview of its contents before setting September 4 as the date for a budget public hearing.
City Council is scheduled to deliberate the 927-page proposal, now available on the City’s website, in a series of August workshops. Budget adoption is scheduled September 18. The fiscal year begins October 1, 2018 and ends September 30, 2019.
The City Charter requires that the City Manager develop a proposed annual budget and plan of municipal services and present it to City Council at least 45 days prior to the start of each fiscal year. City Council must adopt a budget by September 20.
As delivered, the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget is balanced with $181 million in projected expenditures falling within estimated revenue and an overall ending fund balance estimated at 21.33 percent. There are no proposed increases in the tax rate, utility fees or user fees in the initial plan.
Development of the budget for Fiscal Year 2019 started more than six months ago. Olson began by identifying several strategic issues and working with staff to evaluate trends and create revenue projections. Allocation of resources is based on these estimates resulting in the balanced proposal.
Olson’s presentation of budget details began with an all funds summary that included an overview of the entire enterprise. Charts demonstrating revenues and expenses were provided for fiscal years 2008 and 2018 for comparison with the proposed 2019 numbers. Additional charts show expenditures by category for the same years.
Fund balance and working capital were presented for each of the City’s nine funds including the $84 million General Fund, which makes up 46 percent of the overall budget. It is supported primarily by sales and property taxes and funds essential services like police and fire along with quality of life services like parks and libraries. As proposed, the General Fund is balanced with a projected ending fund balance of 26.22 percent.
Olson spent a significant amount of time explaining five strategic issues. The first is a balanced budget which was achieved by carefully estimating revenue and making allocations based on core mission elements within those limits. Changes to debt service funding, creation of traffic enforcement and court collections programs and un-funding five vacant positions also contributed to the end balance.
Compensation equity is the second strategic issue. Market analysis shows that the City’s civil service employees are paid an average 7.5 percent below market and non-civil service employees are an average 26.7 percent below. The issue is partially addressed in the proposed budget with a 2.6 percent cost of living adjustment included for all employees. Civil service employees will remain eligible to receive step increases while non-civil service employees will not. The two levels of employees farthest behind the market, those in the clerk, secretarial and labor categories, may receive up to an additional 8.4 percent increase if City Council approves the plan.
Budget constraints would not allow significant progress on the other three strategic issues, retirement funding, street maintenance and building maintenance, though Olson remains determined to address these items in the future.
Departmental budget presentations are scheduled during August workshops beginning with those in the General Fund August 14. Presentations and City Council deliberation will continue until budget adoption scheduled September 18.
The annual budget is an extensive and complicated document, so City staff has worked to provide it to the public in an understandable format. A central budget webpage, KilleenTexas.gov/Budget, contains links to all documents, presentations, notices and videos in one location. To increase public access, budget workshops will be webstreamed live and for playback.
In addition to viewing materials, the public is encouraged to engage in the process by attending budget workshops and participating in the budget public hearing September 4.