We’ve got budget workshops at 5:00pm on July 21st and July 28th. At first blush, you might think that these would be about as exciting as watching paint dry. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is true that the work sessions will be heavy on mind numbing numbers, but it is important to pay attention. The things that show up at the public hearings for the city budget in September will surface this week and next during the work sessions. Adding and deleting items from the budget will be a lot easier now than in two months.
The only thing cast in stone so far is the proposed millage rate. The proposed millage rate is the same as this year’s rate. The millage rate can be reduced between now and that last budget hearing, but it can not be increased.
We will see some changes in staff positions. Some positions will simply move from one department to another. Others may well morph into something different as positions move to different departments. To the extent that these changes improve efficiency or allow us to better address a specific problem without adding bodies, this is a good thing. It is nice to know that we aren’t facing the layoffs we saw a few years back.
The grant programs for the downtown and the residential neighborhood improvements will be included in the proposed operating budget as well as funding to continue our efforts to address crime and blight.
I’ve heard several suggestions floated over the past few months for new initiatives and staff position changes. It will be interesting to see how many of them made it into the final recommendations that we get during the next two weeks.
The capital expenditures budget is something that will also be interesting to see. The capital expenditures budget maps out major purchases for the next five years. The only year that is cast in stone is the next one. The proposed budgets for years two through five will undoubtedly change between now and then. Still, money allocated for major projects over the next five years gives you a pretty good idea of where we will be heading. The Sims Park improvements you are seeing now first showed up several years ago as a capital budget item.
For good measure, we also have a regular council meeting at 7pm on Tuesday, July 21st. The residential rental exterior inspection program is up for a first reading. We will also have the second reading on a proposed ordinance addressing loitering and prowling.
As is normally the case, I’m looking forward to the next two Tuesdays.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor