Positions I support for the 2015 budget cycle

Here are positions that I support for 2015.  You probably heard about the proposed 6.9% rate increase.  I don’t think it will be or should be that high.  However these positions I feel are vital.  After factoring growth in the tax base growth this would translate to about a 5.5% increase in your property taxes.  The 0% increase last year put us a little behind.  Note the dollar amounts cover salary / benefits / office supplies / vehicles, basically the total cost.

In total I am supporting 12 of 46 requested position.  The cumulative impact on the levy would be in the area of $626,029.  These positions that I am supporting would be a 1.25% increase in the levy.  Programmed increases for existing employees is another $2.4 million.  We got an increase in LGA of about $230k.  What does this all mean?

Basically my support of these position that I feel are necessary would necessitate a levy increase of 5.6%.  This means a typical property tax payer would see about a 4.2% increase plus any other growth in department budget.  If some of these other items came in higher I would potentially support moving some of these position to a later starting point in the year to split the increase over 2 years.  I realize this is slightly above inflation so I felt I would explain why I feel these positions are important below.  Let me know what you think.

I will break these down by the city administrators recommendations:

Administration A list:

  • Housing Inspector – The net impact to the city levy can be close to $0 assuming we set fees to cover costs.  I support this.  We need this position because we have seen explosive growth in the number of units that need to be inspected and we can not keep up with issues and complaints.
  • City Wide Network Security – This will add $130,538 to the levy.  This is expensive but critical.  Many people are surprised to learn that we don’t have anyone in this position.  Target, Supervalue, on and on, data security is vital.
  • Park Landscape Tech – This will increase the levy $81,045.  We have created some great parkway spaces and we need to make sure they are well maintained. I have supported creating great places like Uptown so I must support the cost of maintenance.
  • Engineering Project Manager / Inspector – 2 Position with a net impact on the levy of $0.  Currently we pay far more to contract out these positions on a project by project basis.  This is just common sense in my book.
  • Public Works Infrastructure Maintenance Supervisor – $98,604 impact on the levy.  With the growth in the city, especially sprawl, we now have one person supervising 47 people.  He needs some help before he goes crazy.
  • Wastewater Master Mechanic – $0 impact on levy.  The manager has said that he can decrease his budget by the amount that this formerly funded position would save.
  • Development Assistant – $108,460 impact on levy.  This is similar to the development position that the Chamber wants.  I don’t think that is necessary as it appears changes we have already made are working.  I support this position because we only have 4 positions in administration for a city of 110k.  Also everyone there is close to or past retirement.  We need to plan for the future.
Administration B list:
  • Safety Manager – $121,611 impact on levy.  We are seeing an increase in workman’s comp claims and this position would be effective in reducing this.  Some of this amount would likely be offset, but it is impossible to determine how much.
  • Land Development Assistant – $0 effect on levy.   This is a needed position that can be covered by fees for the services provided.
  • FOG Coordinator – $0 effect on levy.  This is something that we will have to do anyway in the near future.  FOG is the fats, oils, and greases that clog our sewer lines.  This position can be covered with fees, or utility funds in the shorter term.
Not recommended by Administration:
  • Arborist – $85,771 impact on levy.  Emerald Ash Borer is here, we have a huge challenge in maintaining and growing our forest.  Even though we have taken some great steps like our street tree ordinance we still have a huge deficit in trees.

One comment

  1. Yes, these all make sense, plus new quality jobs are created. You may even need to add more than one property inspector as DMC gets going. I support these positions.

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