1. The type of budget used by each city (hint: they are different);
2. The ease of understanding each budget, and the advantages & disadvantages of each approach;
3. How each budget could be improved (if at all) by incorporating features of the budget used by the other city into their budget document/process;
4. Your opinion as to the usefulness of each budget as an informational document if you were a taxpayer of either city.
Asheville’s proposed budget jumps to $154M Caitlin Byrd, firstname.lastname@example.org 3:01 p.m. EDT June 8, 2015
ASHEVILLE – For the third year in a row, Asheville city government is asking for more.
More to keep residents safe.
More to keep roads from flooding.
More to keep jobs coming.
And, most importantly, more money to make it all happen.
This year, the proposed budget sitting before members of Asheville City Council totals $154 million.
That’s about $7 million more than last year’s budget. And compared to the $129 million budget of 20122013, City Manager Gary Jackson and his staff will be asking council to approve a spending plan that has increased by nearly 20 percent in three years.
For starters, property taxes could go up. City employees might get a raise. Millions would go to the River Arts District (/story/news/local/2015/05/17/river artsdistrictplansincludenewfoodtruckparkzoningbridge/27492485/).
But broadly speaking, vice mayor and chairman of the city’s finance committee Marc Hunt said the reason for the expanding budget is about strategy, not outofcontrol spending.
“We are going about this in a very measured way with the full intention that the investments we are making, ultimately with taxpayer dollars, will really pay for itself,” Hunt said. “In business, you understand that you have to make investments in order to grow, and that’s exactly what we’re doing as a city with our capital improvement projects and with the budget overall.”
Asheville’s 2015-2016 city budget, visualized
Council has until June 23 to adopt a budget before the fiscal year begins July 1. But before the sevenmember body votes aye or nay, Council will ask to hear from the community 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Every resident gets three minutes at the podium to tell the mayor and council members how they would like to see their taxpayers dollars spent.
The comments are important because the 111page city budget will ultimately determine what will or won’t get done.
It decides whether elevators in three parking garages get upgrades. It determines whether the lifeguard at the Malvern Hills Pool or an event staffer at the U.S. Cellular Center will get paid a living wage. It determines if city residents will start paying more in property taxes, to the tune of 1.5 cents more for every $100 of property value. It dictates whether a new fire station will be built on Broadway just north of Chestnut Street.
“The cost of doing business as a city is increasing and not decreasing. The primary cost drivers for a city are going to be in personnel cost, salaries and such, and then you get into the other costs associated with running a city,” Mayor Esther Manheimer said. “The citizens of Asheville expect the city to provide basic improvement to infrastructure — things like streets, sidewalks and public safety.”
Compensation and a living wage
The City of Asheville adopted a resolution eight years ago to begin paying its employees a living wage. But when council made that decision, it turns out the temporary or seasonal city workers were not taking home a paycheck that made it reasonably feasible for them to live here.
(Photo: Katie Baileyemail@example.com)
This year, the budget looks to correct that oversight by paying these workers a living wage of $12.50 per hour without health insurance or $11.50 per hour with health insurance.
Six council members interviewed by the CitizenTimes pointed to this change as a win for the city. Council member Jan Davis was unable to be reached for comment.
“We cannot claim we’re a living wage city if we’re not paying everyone who works for us a living wage,” said council member Cecil Bothwell. “We have to talk the talk, and walk the walk.”
City Finance Director Barbara Whitehorn said approximately 150 city workers will benefit.
This change will have the greatest impact on Parks and Recreation, where it is estimated to increase the department’s personnel costs by $150,000. In total, Whitehorn said paying temporary and seasonal workers a living wage will impact the city’s expenditures by $250,000.
Another way the city will be looking after its own is by providing all salaried city employees with a 1 percent raise effective July 1. This raise came from the results of a compensation study Segal Waters Consulting conducted on behalf of the city earlier this year.
“The city kept salaries frozen for several years during the recession. Last year began the city’s attempt to address turnover and employee morale by adding a cost of living adjustment of 3 percent,” Whitehorn said.
Now another 1 percent increase might be heading to city workers, which could be crucial for attracting people to work at City Hall.
“Asheville is lucky in that it attracts talent because so many people want to live here. We are still hardpressed to pay competitive wages to our employees, but we don’t want to lose them to other cities in the region or other cities in the country,” Manheimer said.
The 1 percent salary raise combined with the cost of worker compensation and benefits will cost the city $1.65 million.
1.5cent property tax increase
It has been two years since the city raised property taxes, but this year’s budget proposal is asking for another — this time for a 1.5cent increase.
Asheville looks at property tax increase
Cathy Ball, former public works director and current executive director of planning and multimodal transportation, told members of Council in 2013 that the 4cent hike was to “control our own destiny.”
Council member Gordon Smith said this year’s proposed 1.5cent property tax rate increase is also about Asheville making its own destiny despite decisions made in Raleigh.
The General Assembly last year passed HB 1050, which makes it so cities can no longer charge a business license fee. It will cost Asheville $1.5 million.
The 1.5cent property tax rate increase is intended to make up the difference (/story/news/local/2015/04/27/ashevilletaxincreasecitycouncilproperty taxesmillionbusinesstaxsalestaxemployeepayincreaseslivingwage/26470089/).
“The legislature continues its attack on cities and municipalities, and it’s clear that we have to become as selfsufficient as possible because cities still have to be able to have enough revenue to maintain the quality of services that their citizens demand,” Smith said.
This tax increase would raise the city property tax rate to 47.5 cents per $100 valuation. The new rate would add $30 to the annual tax bill for the owner of a home valued at $200,000.
Unlike his fellow elected officials, council member Chris Pelly said he does not want to see Asheville property owners making up the $1.5million revenue hole created by state lawmakers.
He points to the city’s reserve fund as a solution.http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2015/04/27/asheville-tax-increase-city-council-property-taxes-million-business-tax-sales-tax-employee-pay-increases-living-wage/26470089/http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2015/04/27/asheville-tax-increase-city-council-property-taxes-million-business-tax-sales-tax-employee-pay-increases-living-wage/26470089/
Cities must maintain these rainy day funds by law in case of emergencies, and its amount must be equal to at least 15 percent of the city’s general fund, which covers most city functions.
Pelly said Asheville’s proposed reserve fund balance is at about 17.2 percent. On Tuesday, he will recommend borrowing $1.5 million from the reserve fund rather than raising taxes to address the $1.5million revenue loss.
“I know many people in town are doing well, but I also hear from many who are struggling to pay their mortgages and find goodpaying jobs,” Pelly said. “I think we really need to try as hard as we can to avoid any tax increase, because once we put these taxes on there, rarely to do they ever come off.”
For the third year straight, more money is being allocated for the men and women sworn to serve and protect the citizens of Asheville.
Council member Gwen Wisler noted that, by area, the largest increase in expenditures goes toward public safety.
Members of the Asheville Police Department will see more money being allocated for the men and women sworn to serve and protect the citizens of Asheville. (Photo: Katie Baileyfirstname.lastname@example.org)
The budget proposes a $1 million increase to public safety, which includes both the Asheville Police Department and the Asheville Fire Department. That brings the total up to $46.6 million.
One project in the city’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan would benefit both departments. About $5.9 million is being requested to fix the city’s public safety radio infrastructure, which emergency personnel depend on to communicate with each other during disasters.
“This is one of the things we’ve deferred since 2010, and it’s had two failures the past couple months. Fortunately, we had some backup from Buncombe County,” Smith said of the equipment originally installed in 1988. “The infrastructure itself is past its useful life. This investment, sadly, is necessary.”
Reorganization efforts happening inside the Asheville Police Department can be seen in the budget, too.
After reclassifying some of its employees and moving human resources staff members from other city departments, the Asheville Police Department would have 60 administrative staff members this year, compared to 15 just three years ago.
“We were finding there was a disparity in things like personnel file management, and that we were doing really well with that in the rest of the city but we were not seeing it with the minimum staff we had in the police department,” Manheimer said.
The River Arts District
The two largest projects listed in the city’s proposed Capital Improvement Program for the coming fiscal year are both in the River Arts District — an area experiencing rapid growth (/story/news/local/2015/03/21/ashevilleriverartsdistrictmillionbonesobamagreenwaysbikelaneswhitewaterparknew belgiumbrewerymillion/25156395/), largely due to New Belgium Brewery setting up its East Coast operations along the French Broad River.
The $34.3 million River Arts District Transportation Improvement Plan would create 12,000 linear feet of sidewalk, bike lanes, greenway, onstreet parking, roadway and stormwater improvements. Some of the cost will be offset by grants, but the city would pay $17.5 million.
The 201516 budget would allocate $9 million toward RADTIP.
The complete street project on Craven Street, which will include bike lanes, sidewalks and parking, will cost the city $5.3 million to finish. The $7.8 million Craven Street project is part of an incentives package local leaders used to bring New Belgium’s expansion efforts here.
“Anyone who’s been in Asheville for more than 20 years remembers and has seen the renaissance of downtown Asheville,” Pelly said. “We’re going to see the same kind of renaissance occurring in the River Arts District in the next 1015 years.”
The area was identified as an innovation district last year, along with South Slope and the Charlotte Street corridor.
“We could let that growth happen haphazardly or we could be strategic to help keep Asheville’s identity along the way,” Manheimer said. “As indicated by this budget, we would rather be strategic.”
Other projects of note in the proposed 20152016 budget include:
• A $3.50 increase in the City’s monthly solid waste fee, from $7.50 a month to $10.50 a month.
•$1.7 million in the next five years for a Neighborhood Sidewalk Program, which will invest in critical sidewalk linkages throughout the city .
• $300,000 for elevator rehabilitation in the three older garages and structural maintenance in the Civic Center Garage.
•$418,865 for improvements at McCormick Field.
•$500,000 for renovations at Thomas Wolfe auditorium.
•Funding for a year of Sunday bus service.
Read or Share this story: http://avlne.ws/1Iw64J7http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2015/03/21/asheville-river-arts-district-million-bones-obama-greenways-bike-lanes-whitewater-park-new-belgium-brewery-million/25156395/
Austin residents rescued from high, rushing waters 01:36 (/videos/news/2900097860001/4589282459001)
No survivors after Russian plane crashes in Egypt 00:43
16yearold recovering from bubonic plague in Oregon 01:52
Students rally to support SC officer who slammed girl 01:04
(/picture gallery/news/2015/11/01/on thescene
(/story/news/2015/10/31/dot decisions26 connector asheville
On The Scene: Halloween (/picture gallery/news/2015/11/01/on thescene halloween/75007920/) Nov. 1, 2015, 4:44 p.m.
DOT decisions on I26 Connector in Asheville loom
(/story/news/2015/10/31/dotdecisions26 connectorashevilleloom/74768074/) Oct. 31, 2015, 7:18 p.m.
RCA Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna Gloss Black
(/story/news/crime/2015/11/01/concert weekend bringsdrug
Concert weekend brings drug arrests
(/story/news/crime/2015/11/01/concertweekend bringsdrugarrests/74999400/) Nov. 1, 2015, 12:39 p.m.http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/crime/2015/11/01/concert-weekend-brings-drug-arrests/74999400/http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/crime/2015/11/01/concert-weekend-brings-drug-arrests/74999400/
FY2016 ADOPTED BUDGET
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OPERATING SECTION 1‐100
GENERAL FUND 1‐27 COUNCIL 8 GENERAL GOVT/ADMIN 9‐10 MUNICIPAL COURT 11 POLICE DEPARTMENT 13‐14 FIRE DEPARTMENT 15 PUBLIC WORKS 17‐18 ESG PUBLIC WORKS 19 CEMETERY 20 ESG CEMETERY 21 SR. CITIZENS CENTER 22‐23 NUTRITION PROGRAM 24 CODE ENFOREMENT 25‐26 FINANCIAL DEPARTMENT 27
SPECIAL REVENUE FUND 28‐30 CONFISCATED ASSETS FUND 31 GRANT FUNDS 32‐35 HOTEL‐MOTEL FUND 36 SPLOST FUNDS 37‐42 CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND 43‐45 WATER FUND 46‐53 SEWER FUND 54‐59 SEWER REVENUE BOND SINKING FUND 60‐61 GAS FUND 62‐68 SWCD FUND 69‐79 THEATRE FUND 80‐83 SERVICE FUND 84‐97
MANAGEMENT 87 FINANCE 88 MIS/IT 89 HUMAN RESOURCES 90 CUSTOMER SERVICE 91‐92 BUILDING MANTENANCE 93 ESG BUILDING MAINTENANCE 94 SHOP 95 ESG SHOP 96 FINANCIAL DEPARTMENT 97
PENSION FUND 98‐99
FY2016 ADOPTED BUDGET
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM SECTION 100‐231
FY16 PROPOSED BUDGET CIP SUMMARY 100‐101 GMA LEASEPOOL FUND SUMMARY 102 SPLOST IV FUND SUMMARY 103 SPLOST V FUND SUMMARY 104 ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT 105‐111 POLICE DEPARTMENT 112‐118 FIRE DEPARTMENT 119‐131 PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT 132‐165 WATER FUND 166‐179 SEWER FUND 180‐188 GAS FUND 189‐202 SWCD FUND 203‐215 TIFT THEATRE 216‐222 IT DEPARTMENT 223‐231
- FY2016 Adopted Budget
- Table of Contents
- Budget Resolution
- Operating Section
- General Fund
- Special Revenue Fund
- Confiscated Assets Fund
- Grant Funds
- Hotel Motel Fund
- SPLOST Funds
- Capital Project Fund
- Water Fund
- Sewer Fund
- Sewer Revenue Bond Sinking Fund
- Gas Fund
- SWCD Fund
- Tift Theatre Fund
- Service Fund
- Pension Trust Fund
- Captial Improvement Program (CIP)
- CIP Summaries
- Administration CIP
- Police CIP
- Fire CIP
- Public Works CIP
- Water CIP
- Sewer CIP
- Gas CIP
- SWCD CIP
- Tift Theatre CIP
- MIS/IT CIP