Mayor David Martin revealed his budget proposal for the 2014/2015 fiscal year Monday. The new Mayor’s first budget proposal for the city calls for a 4.9 % tax increase. The $515 million budget is $22 million more than the current year’s budget.
“There is a significant increase in the pension funding, unfunded liabilities for pension,” the Mayor says. “There’s a significant increase in the funding of OPEB, which is basically retiree healthcare.”
The Mayor says structural costs are a key driver for the increase. He says the City will begin to address these costs by conducting departmental reviews, auditing medical benefits for city employees, and balancing labor contracts.
“To examine the effectiveness and the efficiency of city departments; we’re hoping to do that on a pro-bono basis, it takes some time to do that, we have already started with the HR Department,” the Mayor says. “And fundamentally I think that’s necessary before you start talking about how you’re going to negotiate new labor contracts or going to manage time and attendance, it’s important to start with the HR Department; and as we complete that one, we’ll move on to another department.”
Martin also plans to hire 14 new employees to improve vital city services and ultimately save money in the future.
“There are a few positions which are being added, “ he says. “We are restoring the funding for positions that we used to have that we found to be grossly inadequate with what we have now.”
The Mayor proposed $46.5 million for the city’s capital budget to fund infrastructure projects. Martin says equipment and road repairs are a big priority after this winter’s heavy snow accumulation.
“We’ve grown a bumper crop of pot holes and we need to do as much as we can and so we’re going to put a big emphasis on trying to get additional capital monies for the spring and then most of that funding will be in the summer to try to clean up the roads.”
Martin says it’s also important to provide more support for the City’s non-profits, proving that by doubling city funding to the Yerwood Center. The proposed budget will now be reviewed by the city’s boards. For the full proposal, visit: