City to make revenue adjustments in proposed FY 2017 budget

Published 6:25 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby laid out in detail the city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 before a public hearing on the issue at a called city council meeting Tuesday evening.

The proposal calls for a total revenue of $26,974,809 for FY2017 and total expenditures of $26,597,707 including $747,094 that will be used to refund the city’s reserves and provide raises for long-term city employees.

“We’re going to propose that we take employees that have been here three years or longer and give them an additional 2.5-percent raise,” Hobby said.

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The goal with the raises is to separate those more than three years of service from new hires in terms of salary.

The proposed budget also calls for $484,566 to be spent on capital projects. These include a new fleet management program, police cars, boat basin improvements and new equipment for firefighters and the mowing crew.

The budget includes a half-mil decrease in property taxes, which will equate to a projected loss of $246,923 in revenue for the city.

To make up the difference and to fund the proposed capital projects, the city has finalized a plan that will change the revenue system to being more dependent on user fees.

“It’s going to have to come from rates,” Hobby said. “We lowered millage rates so we’re going to decreased tax revenue. There is no new general fund revenue.”

If passed, starting in October, city residents will see a change in their water bills. Currently residents pay for both water and sewer regardless of whether they have both or just one service. Now they will have different fee structures and you will only pay for the services that you use.

The base fee for water will be $12.22 and the base fee for sewer will be $12.62 in the proposed budget. Residents that use both services will pay a monthly base fee of $24.84. The per 1000 gallon fee for water will stay the same at $1.70, but the per 1000 gallon fee for sewer will increase to $1.97.

“The average bill will be $45.93 [based on an average usage of 5000 gallons,” Hobby said. “Currently its $35.74.”

Hobby said that the goal in coming years is to continue to roll back millage rates once they have determined that the fee-based system is stable and sustainable.

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