Leader Blues

Friday, November 21, 2008

TOP STORY > >Jacksonville budget for next year to top $18.6M

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Jacksonville looks to bring in $18.6 million in 2009, and according to the expenditure sheet the output will be $19.2 million.

This $673,172 deficit quickly raised a red flag with Alderman Bob Stroud at the city council meeting Thursday night.

But Mayor Tommy Swaim and Finance Director Paul Mushrush just as quickly calmed Stroud’s fears.

The mayor said the city does not operate a deficit budget. “The deficit is just a numbers issue,” Swaim said, and then had Mushrush explain the specifics.

The finance director said what appears as a deficit is money that comes in that is earmarked by federal, state or city regulations for particular projects. “We have to show it in the general fund, but then it goes into the account for that specific use. It is money that we don’t get to spend for general operations,” Mushrush explained.

So were does that $673,172 go?

It goes into specific funds for scholarships, property loss payments, fire equipment payment for vehicle repairs started in 2008, but with the bills coming in 2009, and other contingencies. The aldermen took no action on the budget, but will spend the next two weeks going over the 31-page proposal and make final recommendations at the council’s next meeting Dec. 4.

Overall, the proposed budget of $18.6 million for 2009 is about $700,000 or four percent higher than the 2008 budget of $17.9 million.

Close to two-thirds (62.8 percent) of the expected revenue is projected to come in through sales taxes, followed by intergovernmental funds at 10.8 percent, operating transfers at 6.2 percent, utility franchise fees at 5.8 percent. Reserved fund balanced will make up 3.5 percent of the revenue, 3.5 percent will come from charges for services, fines at 3 percent, property taxes at 2.3 percent and other sources will provide 2.1 percent of the income.

Most of the expense for the city (64 percent) will be to fund public safety — police, fire, the 911 communications center and animal shelter, followed by public works at 23 percent, general government expenses at 10 percent and judicial branch 3 percent of the revenue.

In all areas, salaries and wages will swallow up about half the city’s revenue, at 46.6 percent; contractual services will cost 17.7 percent; retirement contributions will take up 11.4 percent of the budget; capital outlay at 8.7 percent; health insurance at 7.8 percent; supplies and materials at 4.2 percent, and other benefits eat up the remaining 3.7 percent of the budget.

The street fund, which is separate from the proposed general fund budget of $18.6 million, will operate next year on about $2.7 million, up about $700,000 from 2008. Most of that income (51.9 percent) will come from the city’s share of the state gasoline tax, another 12.6 percent from the county road tax, 23.8 percent from reserved balances, 8.1 percent from grants and 3 percent from interest.

Nearly half (47.2 percent) of that income will be spent on capital outlay; 34.1 percent on personal services; 15 percent on contracted services, and 3.7 percent on supplies and materials

Another fund, not part of the general budget, is sanitation, which is projecting a 2009 budget of $1.3 million, up $20,000 from 2008. Nearly all of that, 93.4 percent, will come from fees and charges for the service, 4.5 percent from other operating income and 2.1 percent from nonoperating income.

Expenditures include 47.2 percent on salaries, wages and employee benefits, 15.3 percent on landfill fees, 12.4 percent on supplies and materials, 9.6 percent on services and other expenses, 8.9 percent on depreciation, 5.2 percent on repairs and maintenance and 1.4 percent on utilities and other expenses.

The emergency medical services fund is also separate from the general fund and is looking at a $1 million budget for 2009, up about $90,000 from 2008. Most of its money (60.1 percent) will come in through service fees, 39.2 percent through operating transfers and less than 1 percent from membership fees.

The bulk of that revenue (66.2 percent) will be used to pay salaries, wages and employee benefits, 22.4 percent for other expenses, 5.5 percent for supplies and demands, 3.3 percent for services, repairs, maintenance and other expenses and 2.5 percent for depreciation.

Based on the general fund budget projections, what is going up or down next year on the revenue side?

Building permits, along with electrical and plumbing permit income, are projected to drop about 20 percent.

Insurance tax turnback for the police and fire departments is expected to drop from $984,000 to $538,000.

Revenue from the city’s Splash Zone and recreation center activities is expected to increase by $25,000.

Dupree Park admission income is expected to increase from $25,000 to $80,000.

Collection of court fines will go up from $535,000 to $545,000.

Franchise fees will go up about $42,000.

The city expects about $700 more on its alcohol tax, going from $18,100 to $18,800.

What is going up or down on the expenditure side?

The cost of running city hall is expected to go up about $150,000.

The police department needs $500,000 more than in 2008.

The fire department is also asking for an additional $500,000 for its 2009 budget.

The cost of running the judicial department is projected to drop about $4,000, going from $507,115 to $503,107.

Parks and Recreation expenses are going up about $160,000.

Salary expenses will jump $400,000.

Health insurance is project to rise just $14,000.

The cost to heat the city’s buildings is expected to jump from $70,566 to $88,965.

The cost of gas oil is projected to jump $78,000 from $197,859 to $275,931.

Building repairs and maintenance will drop from $427,567 to $291,627.

Capital outlay for equipment will jump from $822,472 to $1,269,675.

Capital outlay for construction will rise $120,000, going from $265,467 to $384,217.