By Aaron Moody
May 10, 2017
Town budget staff drew a salute of sorts from the town council for the amount of departmental funding requests pruned from the recommended budget for the fiscal year ahead.
Collectively, the departments asked for $1.75 million worth of what Garner calls “decision packages” as part of a total budget request of $34.3 million. “Decision packages” are requests for funding for new equipment, programs or staff positions.
The $33.2 million spending plan that budget manager Michael Gammon presented allows $318,500 for decision packages. That represents about 18 percent of what department heads requested.
“Y’all thinned out decision packages so much, that was a quick read,” Councilman Gra Singleton told the budget team. “You had like 30 (requests) on here, or whatever it was, and there’s only like eight or nine (now).”
The departments requested 17 new full-time positions and two part-time positions. The budget team’s recommendation allows for just four new full-time positions and two part-time positions.
“We had several hurdles we were facing throughout this budget process,” Gammon said.
The full-time jobs would be a fire inspector, a code enforcer, a planner and a recreation program specialist. The recommended part-time seats are for an IT specialist to assist with a new body-worn camera program and other tasks in the police department, and a communications specialist to supplement the efforts of communications manager Rick Mercier.
Though the recommended budget is about $2.5 million more than the spending plan for the current fiscal year, it proposes no increase in Garner’s property tax rate of 53.25 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The town anticipates base revenue to increase by about $1.3 million – mostly from property taxes, permits and fees, and other levies. It expects other revenue sources to increase by about $1.2 million.
Town Manager Rodney Dickerson acknowledged some of the goals the council set earlier in the year are out of reach in the upcoming fiscal year.
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