Independence City Manager Robert Heacock and Finance Director James Harlow presented the City Council Monday with a proposed operating and capital budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that checks in at 13.7 percent less than last year’s budget.
The proposed budget of $291,725,300 represents a decrease of $46,187,915 from 2012-13, accounted for by more than $50 million in fewer capital budget appropriations. The biggest reason for the $50 million decrease lies in more than $79 million less slated for sanitary sewer fund capital projects.
The operating portion of the budget increased by nearly $7,001,000, or 2.7 percent, and overall it calls for no layoffs or furloughs.
The general fund is budgeted for nearly $72.6 million, and revenues are projected to be almost $256,000 less than was budgeted in 2012-13. Revised estimated revenue for the current fiscal year is nearly $1.9 million less than what had been budgeted.
“The growth of our revenues has gone flat for several years,” Heacock said, attributing that stagnation in part to exemptions for vehicle and Internet sales taxes, as well as residents’ energy conservation. His report also noted a redistribution of retail sales caused by development in other areas of Eastern Jackson County.
From that general fund, $26.4 million is slated for the Police Department and $16.4 million for the Fire Department, approximate increases of $810,000 and $470,500, respectively. Projected increases for salary and benefits are more than $668,000 for police and $409,000 for fire.
The general budget accounts for a 4 percent increase in health care and a 5 percent increase in dental insurance premiums effective next January.
The unassigned fund balance is projected at $3,707,900, due to recent debt refinancing for The Falls at Crackerneck Creek.
The proposed operating budget for the sanitary sewer fund is more than $20.7 million. Revenues are projected at nearly $21 million, an approximate increase of 4.8 percent from the current fiscal year.
For the Power and Light Department, the proposed operating budget is nearly $142 million. Estimated revenues for 2013-14 are more than $144.3 million, a 1.3 increase from this year.
The proposed water fund operating budget is nearly $26.06 million. Revenues are projected at nearly $28.5 million.
The City Council is scheduled to conduct more budget study sessions Wednesday as well as the next two Tuesdays, and a public hearing for the proposed budget is at Monday’s council meeting. The first reading is slated for the June 3 meeting.