The City of Taylor budget for fiscal 2020-21 was approved by a unanimous 7-0 vote of City Council on Tuesday, April 21. Mayor Rick Sollars’ new budget will add nearly $150,000 to the general fund balance (or rainy day fund), which is estimated at $8.556M, or 21 percent of total revenues. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it calls for no layoffs or cutbacks in key services.
“Unlike other municipalities, we are not budgeting for a single layoff because of the current situation,” Mayor Rick Sollars said. “We are not going back to the days of fractured departments and rollbacks of services. We have prepared for a ‘rainy day,’ and it’s here.”
That said, “The City will have to be cautious during this time of uncertainty,” according to the budget overview. “The COVID-19 pandemic could result in lower than anticipated revenues, which must by constantly reviewed during the year. It is the administration’s intent to maintain an unassigned fund balance that meets recommended levels without impairing the services of residents.”
General fund revenues are estimated to be $41,438,234 with expenditures of $41,289,555. Revenues are projecting a 2.7 percent increase, year over year, while expenditures are predicting a 5.1 percent decline.
The City’s tax rate of 27.2960 mills is estimated to increase 0.2 mills due to changes in the Act 345 levy, which funds obligations to police and fire retirees. That fund, along with two others, adjust annually based on the amount of obligation in the particular fund.
Total taxable value of real and personal property is estimated at $1.386B, or a 3.5 percent increase over last year. Assessed rates have increased at a higher rate, but actual taxable value increases are limited by Proposal A and the Headlee Amendment.
On the revenue side, projected changes in excess of 5 percent are:
- Federal grant revenues decrease by 51.4 percent, due to expiration of COPS grant
- Charges for services increase by 6.2 percent
- Fines and forfeitures increased by 15.6 percent
On the expenditure side, projected changes in excess of 5 percent are:
- IT expenditures decrease by 15.5 percent
- Corporate counsel expenditures decrease by 36.4 percent, due to lower case load
- Customer Service Center expenditures decrease by 12.4 percent
- Employee fringe benefit increase by 6.1 percent, due mainly to an increase in retiree health care costs
- General administration expenditures are decreasing by 33.7 percent, due to a one-time ERP implementation cost
- Fire Department expenditures decrease by 12.3 percent, due to one-time purchases last year
- Public Works expenditures decrease by 12.3 percent, due to one-time capital investments last year
- Street lighting expenditures decrease by 29.5 percent, due to one-time capital investments last year
- Senior Center expenditures decrease by 12.2 percent, due to one-time purchases of various items
- Parks & Recreation events and programs increase by 16.6 percent, related to increases in programming like Winterfest and Hallow-Palooza, but overset by increased program revenue
- Petting Farm expenditures decrease by 11.9 percent, related to one-time expenditure last year
- Recreation Center expenditures decrease by 11.6 percent, related to one-time expenditure last year
- Other financing expenditures are expected to decrease 37.2 percent, thanks to estimated transfer to golf fund being less than previous amount.
The new budget presentation also included a 2019-20 Projected/Omnibus Amended Budget, which indicated expenditures over revenues of over $3.1M, or $1.4M “less favorable” than the previous estimated budget for the year currently coming to a close. While the unassigned fund balance remains a healthy $8.4M (or 21 percent of the total budget), it was adversely affected by several factors, most of which related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, state revenue sharing decreased by nearly $350,000, or 4.1 percent; revenue reductions at the Taylor Sportsplex fell nearly $420,000, or 8.64 percent; fines and forfeitures decreased by $1.1M, or 14.6 percent; and investments and rents decreased by $83,000, or 9.2 percent.
NOTE: More detailed images are available within the downloadable PDF of the budget overview.