Murfreesboro’s budget for the next fiscal year is balanced with no new taxes or fees but cuts the size of government.
“The budget is balanced without a tax increase,” City Manager Roger Haley said, adding he was able to preserve city services but was forced to make some cuts to balance the budget.
Haley handed over his tentative city budget for fiscal year 2010 to the city council Thursday night, but warned it could change if the state reduces revenue sharing with cities.
“Should the General assembly enact cuts to state-shared revenues, our budget may require revisions,” Haley said.
The proposed budget totals $96.8 million, an increase of $3.39 million over last year. But $2.96 million of the increase comes in the form of debt.
Only a hand full of city departments will see a budget increase next year, those include state street aid, fleet services, community development, the VA golf course and administration.
The increase to administration is mainly from the relocation of some personnel from the planning department, Haley said.
Haley also proposed “reductions in the workforce” to balance the budget for $520,000 in savings with job cuts to the administration, planning, codes, solid waste and fleet services departments.
“We do not have an individuals identified at this point, Haley said. “ We’ve recommended cost savings and not specifically named persons at this point.”
Haley also recommended leaving frozen and vacant positions unfilled, because it doesn’t affect any active employees and saves the city more than $994,000.
The unfilled positions are scattered throughout city departments and include 18 police officers. The police jobs may be funded by stimulus money, if the cities COPS Hiring Program grant is approved.
Haley’s budget also includes no raises for city employees for a savings of $1.5 million, but employees will be given longevity pay at 2009 levels.
“Even though the budget doesn’t recommend pay increases, I know you (the council) join us in expressing our appreciation to our employees for their tremendous work in providing services to our residents and neighbors,” Haley said.
The city will also delay opening the new Fire Station 10 on Veterans Parkway because of a slow down in growth in that area.
Haley recommended creating a new Transportation Department with the departure of Transit Director Bob Nugent, who left Murfreesboro for a new job in Kansas.
The new department will combine the transit and traffic departments into one single department, which will be responsible for roads, transit, greenways, sidewalks and bikelanes.
“We believe combining these functions into one department will be more efficient and effective,” he said.
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.