• cfoster@cfoster.com

Spending comes easy

Spending wisely and securing a future for everyone is more difficult than spending yourself to the brink of financial insecurity. Part of that secure financial future means we have something in the bank.

While I will share more detail on the budget in the days to come, I wanted to share a little bit of the 5 year plan being reviewed tonight.

Our General Fund debt levels will be over our Cautionary Outlook (12% or more) once the new debt is rolled up and will remain that way until 2024. Five years from now.

Our spending floor measured in our General Fund Balance Ratio has typically been 40%. It is 33% in 2020. It is 30.48% in 2021. It will only recover to 40% by 2024 if everything goes right and we don't spend more than budgeted in given areas.

Below are the fund balance levels for various funds with starting balance levels for 2019 and ending balances projected to 2024.

Street & Sidewalk Construction Balances will go from $1,654,449 currently to $163,863 in 2024.

Street Maintenance and Repair Fund moves from $509,097 currently to $294,498 in 2024.

Cemeteries Fund moves from $158,946 down to $5,216 in 2024.

Parks Fund which is at $1,526,612 currently will be $236,026.

Fire Fund moves from $2,736,630 to $2,519,658.

EMS Fund moves from $285,093 to $267,098. That does not include the Unfunded $750,000 Safety Center renovation.

Water Fund moves from $1,470,605 to $647,637. An additional $5,225,000 of Unfunded projects remain listed over the 5 year period.

Electric Fund drops from $10,536,316 to $5,511,118. Unfunded and unaccounted remains a $4.5 million Hines Hill substation.

Storm Water goes from $485,735 currently to $242,236 by 2024 with $2,360,000 in unfunded projects.

Fleet Fund which is currently at $722,057 drops to $301,021.

That lowers our fund levels by $9,897,170 over the next 5 year plan, and leaves projects totaling $12,835,000 unfunded.

Even Ellsworth Meadows sees their fund balance decrease from $166,641 to $146,819. No surprise since it will lose money in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The Velocity projection is a bit maddening. It doesn't come close to the business plan. Even though VBB missed their forecast revenues by almost $70,000 this year, the new budget in our 5 year plan shows a projected increase of $350,000 more than the business plan that was released only a few months ago. That is roughly a 35% increase for comparison purposes. The business plan shows loss of $219,307 after debt service in 2020 and a $140,185 loss after debt service in 2024. Yet this new 5 year budget shows substantial profits both before and after debt service. I am skeptical to say the least. My guess? VBB wants to ask for more money.

It will take some time to go through this 5 year projection, perhaps a day or two. What stands out is the added $780,000 in annual debt service we need to pay.

Another item that stands out is over the 5 year period - while Police Department Personnel Expenditures rise by 14%, our Administrative Staff expenses increase by 25%. I wont argue staff deserve raises. It is the variance between those two ranges that bothers me.

I am glad to see hires in EMS (one full time, one part time), I wonder why we need four new part time hires in Engineering. The three added volunteer firefighters are a welcome addition.

I normally end blog posts with something positive to say. I am having a problem with this one. I looked over the numbers and do not see a lot of positive things I can say about them.


©2019 by Chris Foster for Ward 2 City Council. Paid for by Citizens for Foster