BRIGHTON — City officials are proposing a $53.9-million budget for the 2014 fiscal year, a 0.67-percent increase over the city’s adopted budget of $53.5 million for this year. City Council received an in-depth review of the budget proposal during a two-day budget retreat Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and 5.
The 2014 budget is essentially a status quo budget as city officials are expecting 2014 to be “a building year,” according to City Manager Manuel Esquibel.
“I believe this is going to be a year where we have to just maintain what we have but keep maintaining that same level of service that the citizens expect,” Esquibel said. “I think there’s some new opportunities out there that we’re going to be exploring and we’ve got some challenges we’re going to bring before council next year.”
Revenues for next year’s budget are projected to increase 6.6 percent over this year’s adopted revenues. The capital improvement fund reflects a slight decrease in revenues from 2013, primarily due to overestimated sales tax revenues for this year.
Next year’s utilities budget is balanced with proposed fee increases for its customers. A 5-percent increase in rates has been requested for the overall water fund to offset the existing maintenance and capital expenditures. The wastewater fund is proposing a 12-percent increase in the fixed rate only, which amounts to an estimated $1 increase a month per account. A 15-percent increase is being proposed for the storm drainage fund, which amounts to an estimated 28-cent increase a month per account.
The budget also utilizes $586,958 from the city’s fund balance to balance the general fund budget.
Public Safety continues to be a priority for city officials, as evidenced in the police department’s budget. The police department is proposing the purchase of two marked patrol cars and one marked SUV, as well as one unmarked car. Chief Clint Blackhurst said mobile and portable radios need replacing, as many of them are no longer functional. Blackhurst also pointed to a need for traffic lasers and radar units, as well as the purchase of an omnidirectional tornado warning siren and amplifier to replace one of the city’s current sirens.
The police department plans to have two capital improvement projects this year: The remodeling of the records and repairing the foundation of the city’s animal shelter.
A number of capital improvement projects are being planned for the city’s parks and recreation department for next year. The city will continue to renovate the Bromley Hishinuma farm through match grant funding.
The department is also proposing the Recreation Center’s roof be replaced using lottery funds. Repairs are also planned for the rec center’s parking lots and the addition of an American Disabilities Act-compliant lift to the pool.
The Streets and Fleets Department will continue to make repairs to the city’s streets and roadways. Next year the department plans to continue to ensure sidewalks meet accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, replace a traffic signal and replace the roof on the fleet shop.
Technology upgrades are also being proposed for next year. IT Director Margaret Brocklander said the city is getting close to being out of digital space, so she is proposing the city purchase two servers and backup servers along with some more storage space. The IT Department also plans to purchase new computers as part of its five-year computer replacement plan.
The police department is also included in the IT Department’s upgrades. The police department would receive a new firewall and advanced authentication system, which Brocklander said will provide another layer of security for the police department’s technology. She said the will also be upgrading technology used in patrol cars to Verizon’s 4G Network.
The planned budget will continue to allow for merit increases but neither market rate increases nor additional staff were budgeted for. Although no additional staff or market rate increases were included in this year’s budgets, the city may make changes throughout the year if revenues allow.
“As we begin monitoring our revenues next year, if in fact we feel that the revenues are exceeding what projections are, then we will come back to council in terms of saying that these are some of the areas where we feel we need to be looking at positions as well as looking at any market rate adjustments,” Esquibel
City departments have nine full-time position requests that would help city operations including three new officers for the police department: One front desk officer, one detective and one code enforcement officer. Additional positions include a deputy city manager, a facilities technician, a combination building inspector, a horticulture technician, an open space and trails technician and a senior accountant.
Esquibel said if revenues allow for the addition of staff, the city would have to assess what its able to afford and that council would have to discuss it and make that decision.