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City budget contains no new taxes, cuts jobs

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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 mwillard@murfreesboropost.com.
Read more from:
Bob Nugent, City, Economy, Roger Haley
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Members Opinions:
May 15, 2009 at 1:24pm
So let me get this right, we are increasing budgets on community development which is developing beyond its boundaries now. We are increasing budgets on a golf course, but not police officers and fire departments? I think the real reason Haley is retiring is senility. That does not make sense.
May 15, 2009 at 5:38pm
Job cuts must have been on the back burner while the city employees were out busting butt cleaning up after the tornado.
May 15, 2009 at 6:52pm
Not to worry folks, between fed stimulus money and property re-assessments we will make it and our property taxes will go up to pay for it. The "no tax increase" means the rate will stay the same just look for a higher assessment- even if your property has gone down in value. They did it in Metro and it will happen here.
May 16, 2009 at 8:58am
What is wrong with Haley? Community developement? GOLF COURSE? He's worried about a golf course, but will not replace police officers and firemen that we so desprately need? Who in the world makes up the list of priorities for this man, some little 5 year old? No, even a 5 year old would make better choices than Haley seems to be able to make. And Bota is right, we will all pay sooner than later!
May 16, 2009 at 9:55am
I guess I am one of those rare tax payers that would not mind paying a little more in taxes IF that meant the money was used for improving life in Murfreesboro. Things such as better traffic control so you don't have to wait 2 or 3 cycles of the signal at some intersections. Making road improvements, Maintain or increase the number of policemen and firemen to adequate service our growing city, NO job cuts, etc. The golf course should be self sustaining!
May 16, 2009 at 1:44pm
The County property tax rate will have to go up to pay for the development in the municipalities. Consequently, the taxes for the County residents that live in the municipalities will go up due to municipal growth.
But not to worry, there will be golf courses and tennis courts to bring in all that sales tax revenue.
May 16, 2009 at 7:56pm
Where were you all at on April 15th... Could of used the support for "TEA TAX DAY". I can't wait to get my new property assessment. I just hope they take into consideration the forclosures on both sides of me... because the jobs went out of county. I know I am... can't wait to see the new neighbors either. Gonna love this summer as the grass, grows and grows and grows.

I know just how hard it is to balance a budget, but I do think our police officers and fire fighters need some help. Guess I will just enjoy riding by the golf course and see all the MOWED SPACES....
May 17, 2009 at 12:48am
This is about people losing their jobs and trying to keep what they have.
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